The Charles Page High School varsity basketball season will kick off this Tuesday at the Ed Dubie Field House as the Sandites host the Ponca City Wildcats in a non-conference matchup.
The Lady Sandites enter the year ranked third in 6A after a 24-2 season, Frontier Valley Championship, and State Semifinal appearance. They handily defeated No. 13 Mustang 42-24 in the quarterfinals before falling 64-54 to No. 4 Deer Creek.
No. 9 Ponca City is coming off a 16-8 season, Regional Championship, and State Tournament appearance. They were defeated 58-43 by No. 1 Edmond Santa Fe in the quarterfinals. They are also the only team in 6A without a conference.
Sand Springs lost their top scorer in Oklahoma State University freshman softball standout Sydney Pennington, who averaged 10.8 points per game. They also lose Kansas State University volleyball-commit Gloria Mutiri who will be graduating early, and Redlands Community College freshman Kierra McGee. Mutiri averaged 10 points per game and McGee had 8.7. Mutiri and Pennington led the team in rebounds and Mutiri led in blocks.
The deep Sandite bench retains Destiny Johnson and University of Kansas commit Holly Kersgieter who averaged 10.2 points apiece. Johnson has received offers from Pittsburg State University, the University of Central Oklahoma, the University of Tulsa, and the University of Texas at El Paso.
Kersgieter and Johnson will be joined by Kimi Presnell, Jacie Taber, and Isabella Regalado as the projected starters for Tuesday's game.
Taber, a University of Northern Iowa softball-commit, averaged two points per game last year and scored a career-high seven points on four occasions. Presnell didn't see any varsity action last year, but scored 21 points her freshman year. She led the Sandite Fast Pitch Softball team this fall in batting.
Bella Regalado started six times last year, but was always first off the bench and saw nearly as many game minutes as the regular starters. She averaged 6.8 points per game and scored a career-high eighteen against Bishop Kelley.
The biggest weakness for the Lady Sandites, according to Head Coach Dustin Morrow, is height with the tallest player a mere 5'10". Team strengths include overall athleticism with several division-one talents.
The team doesn't have a single senior and Morrow will be looking to his eight juniors to step up and be leaders. "Madison Burris (sophomore) and Bree Berge (freshman) will make a big difference off the bench," says Morrow. "Madison has a high basketball IQ and is long and athletic. She's a monster on the boards. Bree can really handle the ball and knows how to play. She lives in the gym."
Last season's success has left high hopes behind and Morrow doesn't shy from setting his expectations high. "Our goals are to win the conference, host a regional, and compete for the State Championship."
The girls' first conference game will be Friday when they host 5A No. 17 Bishop Kelley. They will play the first installment of the Highway 97 Rivalry series next Tuesday at No. 18 Sapulpa.
2017-2018 Week 1 Girls Rankings
- Putnam City West (8)
- Choctaw (7)
- Owasso (3)
- Sand Springs (1)
- Deer Creek (1)
- Edmond Santa Fe (3)
- Bartlesville (2)
- Ponca City
- Edmond North
- Edmond Memorial
- Norman North
- Midwest City
- Broken Arrow
()*First Place Votes
Girls 2016-2017 FVC Standings
1. Sand Springs (13-1)
2. Owasso (11-3)
3. Bartlesville (10-3)
4. Broken Arrow (8-6)
5. Union (8-6)
6. Sapulpa (6-7)
7. Jenks (5-9)
8. Muskogee (4-10)
9. Bishop Kelley (2-12)
10. Bixby (2-12)