Home tests set Thursday and Friday for PHS girls, boys basketball squads

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

The Pawhuska High School basketball squads will tip off the seasons with back-to-back home games Thursday and Friday at Oren Terrill Field House.

Tuesday’s scheduled opener with Hominy was cancelled because the Bucks’ football is still alive in the Class A playoffs. (Hominy earned a semifinal matchup with unbeaten Stratford by winning a weather-delayed Monday contest, 34-15, at Mooreland.)

Newkirk will visit PHS on Thursday, with the girls’ varsity squads starting at 6:30 p.m. and the Huskies-Tigers game to follow at 8.

The Perry Maroons are the opposition for Friday.

Next week, both Pawhuska teams will take part in the Nowata Invitational Basketball Tournament. The Lady Huskies received a No. 3 tourney seed and will open against the Mannford Lady Pirates. (Date and time to be announced.)

New Lady Huskie head coach Lauri Shatswell will be sending out an athletic mix of youth and experience, speed and size. The PHS varsity girls’ squad includes four veteran seniors, three juniors, eight sophomores and some promising freshmen.

In a scrimmage held here last Monday evening, the Lady Huskies battled the Tonkawa Lady Bucs through more than a dozen 10-minute periods before the scrimmage finally ended due to exhausted referees.

The PHS girls controlled most of the sessions as Shatswell re-shuffled the lineups throughout. Shatswell said the Lady Huskies have been working on their shooting, but will rely even more on overall team energy.

“We are going to be able to get up and down the court and that should let us score a lot in transition,” the first-year Pawhuska head coach said. “Our conditioning is something else that we’ll be trying to use to our advantage.”

PHS grad Chad Kills Crow has returned to his old high school court as the head coach of a Huskie squad that will start the campaign working to overcome early injuries that have depleted the local lineup.

Starting senior point guard J.R. Young is expected to miss the first month of the season with an ankle injury sustained during the football season. Senor center Hayden Henley has been limited in practice but should be on the court for the opener.

Another PHS gridiron casualty, junior Colton Hindman, recently found out the knee injury he suffered in the last quarter of the football season final was a ligament tear — which will probably keep him hobbled until at least this spring.

Kills Crow takes over at the the Huskie helm following a five years as the head coach at Haskell Indian Nations University. Prior to going to Haskell as an assistant, he had coached at the prep level in Oklahoma and Colorado.

Pawhuska’s other returning starter, Will Merrell, has been leading Huskie scorers in the pre-season. The 6-foot junior will be joined in the front court by the 6-2 combo of Henley and senior Lance Harden.

The December hoops schedule for PHS includes the Sperry Tourney from Dec. 14-19. Barnsdall’s Panthers and Lady Panthers are slated to visit Terrill Field House for the opener of the 2016 slate on Monday, Jan. 4. Pawhuska will travel to Newkirk on Tuesday, Jan. 5, before hosting the Dewey Dogger squads on Friday, Jan. 8. After away games at Pawnee, Nowata and Barnsdall, the Huskies and Lady Huskies return to tournament action at Dewey, Jan. 18-23.

Concluding the regular-season schedule will be: Tuesday, Jan. 26, home versus Nowata; Friday, Jan. 29, at Perry; Monday, Feb. 1, at Dewey; Monday, Feb. 9, Pawnee at Pawhuska, and Monday, Feb. 16, at Hominy. (Tuesday’s home games with Hominy are to be rescheduled.)