By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Photo: Morgan Miller, Staff
The Charles Page High School varsity basketball girls have been having one heck of a season. They're certainly the best squad since the 2010-2011 Regional Championship team, and possibly even better. With eight regular season games left before Regionals, the ladies only need to post one more victory to beat last year's record and officially claim their best season since 2011.
How did they get to this point?
From 2011-2013 the Lady Sandites went 3-42 under Head Coach Bob Banfield.
In 2012, the ladies added freshman Cierra "CJ" Scott who was an immediate scoring threat with well over 100 points, setting a career-high in her sixth game with 16 points--an amount she would repeat a month later.
For the 2013-2014 season, Dustin Morrow took over Head Coaching duties and led the team to a 10-14 overall record, 5-9 in Frontier Valley. Sydney Pennington, Jessica Collins, Amari Grant, Bailey Boaz, Lee Leslie, and Maddie Ward were the freshman additions to the team.
Pennington erupted on the scene with 373 points, only failing to double in three games, and set a personal best of 22 points against Muskogee. Scott scored 101.
Last season the Sandites added Selena Hitchcock and major inside scoring threat Gloria Mutiri. Pennington led all scorers with 412 points and set a new career-high with 32 points against Muskogee once again. Mutiri made an incredible debut with 200, Scott added 150, Collins scored 69, and Hitchcock had 31.
That year the 8th grade girls went a perfect 28-0 and secured a Frontier Valley Conference Championship. In 2015 those girls became freshmen.
The first game of the 2015-2016 season saw a 59-39 rout of the Green Country Defenders home school team. Pennington scored a team-high 22 points, and eight other girls scored including four freshmen.
The next game was a 61-51 loss to Bixby, but Pennington had a double-double with 19 points, followed by Scott with 18.
Next came the Bishop Kelley Invitational. The ladies swept the tournament, dominating Cascia Hall 59-37, Norman North 52-38, and 5A #4 Shawnee 49-40. Freshman Destiney Johnson had her break-out game against Cascia with 14 points. Collins added 12, Pennington 11, and Scott 10. Pennington led against Norman North with 15. The Shawnee game proved a defining night for two different freshmen. Isabella Regalado led with 17, followed closely by Holly Kersgieter with 14. Johnson, Pennington, and Scott were named to the all-tournament team and Pennington was named MVP.
The next game was against then #6 Sapulpa, who would go on to be ranked #1 for weeks before dropping to their current position at #2. The Sandites led for nearly the entire game before a series of fouls gave the Chieftains a 54-43 win. Johnson and Pennington both doubled with 14 and 11 respectively.
From there it's been nothing but wins, and most of them were big ones.
Mutiri, Kersgieter, Pennington, and Johnson all doubled in a 59-39 win over #14 Union.
Pennington and Kersgieter doubled in a 57-28 doubling of Green Country.
Johnson, Pennington, and Mutiri doubled in a 51-48 upset of #8 Owasso.
Mutiri scored 20, aided by Pennington and Johnson with 11 each in a 64-43 extermination of Jenks.
Scott scored 17, and Pennington and Mutiri each added 10 in a 67-46 smothering of Bishop Kelley.
Currently the ladies are ranked 11th with a 12-2 record, sitting at 4th in Frontier Valley Conference standings.
Thursday night the girls arrived in Coffeyville, Kansas for the 43rd Harold Thomas Interstate Classic, where they went undefeated last year.
In Thursday's round one matchup with Field Kindley High School (Coffeyville), the Lady Sandites continued their dominating streak with a 64-33 smack down. Gloria Mutiri led all scorers with 15 points, followed by Collins with 9, Pennington with 7, Hitchcock with 7, Regalado with 6, Johnson with 6, Kersgieter with 4, Ward with 4, Scott with 2, Presnall with 2, and Grant with 2.
Friday night was even more impressive, as they outscored Nathan Hale 60-16, led by Hitchcock with 10, Ward 8, Grant 7, Pennington 7, Taber 6, Presnall 5, Collins 5, Leslie 4, Kersgieter 3, Regalado 3, Mutiri 2.
Saturday saw an end to their streak of 20+ point wins, but not an end to their overall winning streak. The Ladies took down Life Prep Academy 51-49 to defend their Interstate Classic Champions title and add to their eight-straight win streak. Pennington scored 22, aided by Johnson with 8, Kersgieter 6, Scott 5, Hitchcock 4, Regalado 3, Collins 2, Mutiri 1. Mutiri and Pennington made the All-Tournament team and Pennington was named the tournament's Most Inspirational Player.
The girls return to action Tuesday night at #4 Broken Arrow (14-2) in a Frontier Valley Conference battle.