The Pawhuska Huskies basketball team won twice last weekend in district play to improve its record to 17-8 and secure a district title.
The Huskies had lost three straight — to Woodland, Barnsdall and Pawnee — to complete their regular season schedule with a mark of 15 wins, 8 losses, but Coach Jake Christenson’s team on Friday defeated Caney Valley 70-38, and then on Saturday bested No. 16-ranked Nowata by a count of 58-55 on its home floor.
The Huskies’ next game date is listed as Thursday, Feb. 27, at 8 p.m. against Preston, which defeated Drumright and Hominy to win its district. If the Huskies defeat Preston — the game is to be at Nowata — Coach Christenson said it would mean Pawhuska would win the right to play in the regional title game Saturday, and it would mean PHS would advance to the Area Tournament regardless of whether it were to win the regional title.
Christenson said the string of losses against Woodland, Barnsdall and Pawnee reflected a period of time when other teams just wanted the victory more, but he said the Huskies are now anxious to keep playing basketball together.
“It’s mostly about these guys enjoying each other and still wanting to play basketball,” he said of the team’s resurgence. Pawhuska won at district with two of its frequent starting players out of the lineup most of the time, Christenson noted. From the first half or so of the Caney Valley game onward, the Huskies were without Kevin Davis and Ty Chinn. Davis fell ill (double ear infections) and Chinn suffered a foot/ankle injury, Christenson said. They will probably miss the Preston game, as well, he anticipated.
Players who have stepped it up for the Huskies have included Matt Miles, Tre Harper and Mason Gilkey. Christenson praised Harper for playing within himself, sticking to the tasks at which he excels and not trying to take on too much.
If the Huskies were to lose to Preston, they would have to turn around and win both Friday and Saturday to make the Area Tournament, Christenson said.
The Lady Huskies face a stiff challenge in regional play, where they will need to win three in a row to make the Area Tournament.
The Lady Huskies entered district play with regular season record of 18 wins, 5 losses and a No. 19 ranking in 2A, but they lost the district title Saturday, 54-36, to Caney Valley. The Lady Huskies are scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. game this Thursday, Feb. 27.