The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association apparently wants to make Pawhuska High School’s Lady Huskies into the Rocky Balboa of girls’ basketball.
For the second time in three years, the OSSAA has matched the Lady Huskies with the No. 1-ranked team in the state for their Class 3A District Basketball assignment.
Two years ago, the state governing body cast the Verdigris Lady Cardinals in the Apollo Creed role against coach Austin Minshall’s PHS girls. (That time, at least the Lady Huskies had home court advantage with the game played in Philly, err, Pawhuska.)
This year, the Adair Warriors and Lady Warriors will provide formidable home foes for Pawhuska in its Class 3A Area II District 4 matchups. The win-or-go-home district contests are scheduled for Friday, Feb. 21.
"Adair’s boys’ team is pretty good, but they’re nothing like the Adair girls," Pawhuska Huskie head coach Monty Unruh said Monday. "Their girls’ team is special."
Unruh added that the Adair gymnasium may provide some enhanced challenges of its own.
"It’s a lot like a college atmosphere," said the PHS coach.
Prior to districts, the Huskies and Lady Huskies face a fairly active preparation schedule.
Three home games this week will be followed by home-and-away contests next Monday against Barnsdall (in a third attempt at making up snowed-out games with the Panthers) and Tuesday at Hominy.
Pawnee was to open this week’s home-game bonanza on Tuesday. The Lady Black Bears were to match a 7-11 season mark against the 4-12 Lady Huskies. Pawnee’s boys were bringing a 16-4 record (and the No. 6 ranking in Class 2A) to the PHS gym. Unruh (whose Huskies are 6-10) said he did not think the Black Bears could play any better than they did when Pawhuska visited Pawnee in January.
"I’ve never seen any team shoot better than they did that night," the PHS coach said.
Nowata will be at Terrill Field House on Thursday. Two weeks ago, the Lady Huskies battled down to the wire with the Lady Ironmen before succumbing (36-35) at NHS. The Huskies fell to the Ironmen, 53-30. Nowata has since dropped three in a row, including a four-point home decision (52-48) to Adair.
Newkirk is slated to come to Pawhuska for a Friday night doubleheader. The Lady Tigers will enter with an 11-8 mark and the Tigers are coming in 10-9.
The Adair boys currently are 11-9 and ranked as the No. 20 team in Class 3A. Unruh said from what he has seen, the Warriors resemble several other PHS opponents — including Nowata.
As for the Lady Warriors, they are 20-1 — with their sole loss coming against 6A powerhouse Norman North in the Tulsa Tournament of Champions.