By DAVID MILLER News Sports EditorSClBIt was fun to watch this year’s Ponca City Lady Cat basketball team. From the very first game it was evident that this bunch of players had above average potential.
The team proved that that early assessment was on target at the end of the season when they won enough games against higher ranked opposition to earn a spot in the Class 6A State Tournament.
I have always been in awe of teams that get to play in the state tourney. I guess it goes back to my early years when I had a teacher whose high school alma mater’s basketball team earned a state championship. He took us to a couple of games earlier in the season and those of us who went sat in awe as we watched what looked like basketball perfection.
Having seen those games, I continued to follow the progress of that team until they had achieved the ultimate—at least in the eyes of a sixth grade basketball fan.
From that point on my consuming ambition was to play on a team that made it as far as the state tourney. And when I was a senior in high school the team I played on had a legitimate shot. Alas, we didn’t make our goal, falling just one game short.
I think because of our failure I have always had a special place in my being for those who do make it.
I have had the good fortune of attending quite a few state tournament games since I’ve been in Ponca City, usually following local or nearby teams as they play in Oklahoma City or Tulsa as the case may be.
Each year the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association puts out a program that is a gold mine for trivia fanciers like myself. I have quite a collection of those programs and when I made the trip to Tulsa to take in Ponca City’s game against Edmond Santa Fe last week, I picked up yet another.
One of the things the program lists is the number of state championships each school has won. Booker T. Washington in Tulsa has the record for the most titles among boys. The Hornets have won 16 and when this was being written were playing for No. 17. Millwood is close behind with 15 championships, Tulsa Central has 13 and Douglass has 10.
Ponca City has not won a boys championship.
On the girls side, Lomega, a rural school near Watonga, has won 13 state titles. It won in 2015 and 2016 and was in the championship game again this year.
Byng is next with 11 and Woodward has won nine.
Ponca City is listed with two state championships, in 1987 and in 1917. I was aware of the 1987 team. I had never heard that our high school had won one in 1917. I doubt if anyone around remembers that team of 100 years ago.
I have been privileged to see area teams win a few. The Tonkawa boys won the school’s only title in 2003. Nathan Geiser, a junior at the time, was the leading scorer. Frontier, under coach Bob Weckstein, has won six Gold Balls. The Mustangs won in 1996, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005 and 2006. I saw the last three. Weckstein’s son, Reggie, and Wahskon Camp were the top guns of the 2004 team. They had finished second to Coyle in 2003 and were determined not to lose in the finals again. Sam Stephens and Bret Jackson were the leaders of the 2005 and 2006 outfits.
Pawnee has won four times, in 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Keiton Page was just a freshman when the Black Bears won Class 2A in 2005. He was again on a state championship team in 2008, his senior year.
Frontier has also won three titles on the girls side. Jenna Plumley led the Lady Mustangs to the championship in 2003 and 2005. Marissa Goodman was the top scorer on the 2012 team that took state.
Newkirk finished second in 2005 when Dwight Winburn was the coach there and Kinzie Glover was the team’s top scorer.
Later, Winburn became the Ponca City girls coach and he took the Lady Cats to the state tournament in 2009, the first time a Po-Hi team had made it that far since the mid 1990s.
Mica Havens, Emily Berwaldt, Roxanne Roughface and the Hull sisters, Jordan and Sadie, are names I remember from that team.
Ponca City played unbeaten and No. 1 ranked Midwest City in the opening game of the Class 6A State Tournament that year. The game was played in Yukon and I remember that Havens, the team’s leading scorer, went out of the game with a concussion early, and Ponca City went on to lose to a very talented Midwest City team. Two or three of the Midwest City players eventually played Division I basketball in college somewhere. Unfortunately for Midwest City, that talented team was upset by old rival Del City in the state championship game
Back to the program—also listed are the scoring records that have been made in state tournaments of the past.
For example, it tells me that Rotnei Clark of Verdigris holds the boys record for one game, 60 points. He made that total against Vian in 2007. Second and third are Keiton Page of Pawnee. Page had 54 against Oklahoma Christian in the championship game of 2008. He had 53 points in a 2007 game against Oktaha.
Reggie Weckstein is fourth, having scored 51 points against Roff in the title game in 2004. I was on hand for that game and can attest to the fact that Reggie was on fire. He just couldn’t miss. As his teammate Wahskon Camp said afterwards, “We lost last year to Coyle in the finals and me and Reggie were determined that we weren’t going to lose again.”
Going down the list, there are some very familiar names to be found. Ryan Minor of Hammon, who later went to play at OU, scored 45 points against Grant in 1992 and Paige had 43 as a freshman against Latta.
On the girls side, Kinzie Glover of Newkirk is second with 44 points against Bethel in 2005. Glover, now Kinzie Didier, became the coach at Woodward and brought her team to Ponca City to play the Lady Cats last season. Incidentally, coach Didier’s Woodward Lady Boomer team won the Class 5A state championship in 2016.
Jaden Hobbs of Alva is in the top spot among girls with 45 points scored against Washington in 2014.
Stephanie McGhee of Howe has 37 points against Frontier in 2004. I was there covering Frontier when that happened.
Taleesha Conder of Alva scored 35 against Beggs in 2004. Conder and Chisum McIntire were two pretty good players for Alva back in those years. They played a number of games in Po-Hi’s Robson Field House against the Lady Cats.
Janice Beach of OKC Southeast holds the old girls 6-on-6 scoring record with 61 points in 1970. She was coaching at Western Oklahoma State when I first moved into this area.
Keiton Page has the record of points in the state tournament for a career with 369 points in 10 games. Ty Lazenby, who currently plays at NOC-Enid, had 261 points in 10 games when he was playing at Glencoe. Bret Jackson of Frontier had 223 points in 12 games in his career. Brady Page, a brother to Keiton, had 192 points in 11 games as a player for Yale 1999-2002.
Jenna Plumley of Frontier is No. 3 in the girls career scoring (state tournament totals) with 221 points from 2003-2006. Marissa Goodman of Frontier scored 172 points in 8 games in 2011-2014.
The OSSAA program also lists all-time career scoring records.
Rotnei Clark of Verdigris is the all-time boys leader with 3,758 points. Keiton Page is right behind with 3,709. They both graduated in 2008 and were chasing the record that Ty Harman of Maud had set in 1989 (3,689). As I remember, Page surpassed Harman’s mark first, but Clark eventually came out with the largest total. Looking down the list I see names that I recognize such as Bryant “Big Country” Reeves of Gans, who scored 2,950 points in a career that ended in 1991; Ryan Minor of Hammon, who scored 2,877 points in a career that ended in 1992; and Kevin Bookout of Stroud who scored 2,802 in his career that ended in 2002. Reeves went to Oklahoma State, Minor and Bookout went to OU.
Jenna Plumley scored 2,434 points in her career that ended in 2006. But she is quite a ways down on the girls list, which is led by Taylor Roberts of Classen SAS, with 3,401. Roberts graduates this year.
Rachel Brown of Moss, a 1990 graduate, holds the girls 6-on-6 career record with 5,396 points
I paid $5 for the State Tournament program this year. I count it a good investment.
THIS YEAR'S OSSAA Class 6A and Class 5A State Tournament program was well worth the $5 investment.
THE 2016-2017 Ponca City Lady Cats team earned a spot in the Class 6A State Tournament.