By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sport Writer
Broken Arrow has one of the more experienced teams in Class 6A basketball. The Tigers are a senior-loaded team and are expected to make some noise on the hardwood this year.
However, at this writing, the Tigers were 2-3, not off to the start they desired before Christmas break.
“This is not where we thought we would be at this point. I thought we would be 4-0 going into this next game or at least 4-1,” Broken Arrow coach Beau Wallace said.
“Even though we have a lot of guys back, we have a new team and there are some things we need to clean up. We’re not getting the inside scoring that we have been getting. We’re missing one of our key guys right now. So that has hurt us.”
The Tigers lost the season opener at Union, 56-48, on Dec. 8.
“We had a chance to win that game in regulation, but we turned it over late, went to overtime and didn’t make any shots. The only thing we did well was we made free throws.”
Broken Arrow played in the Edmond Open the following weekend, going 2-1. The loss came in the second round to Edmond Santa Fe by three points. The Tigers responded with an 80-51 win against Oklahoma City Casady. Then came a 30-point loss at Sapulpa on Dec. 15.
“We had some mental mistakes and missed assignments,” Wallace said. “We have to get better production inside and outside. It starts inside for us,” he added.
Wallace said that his team has been without its top two rebounders from last year. One is Jaiell Talley, who also played football. A 6’5″ senior forward, Talley had almost 200 rebounds last year. He is currently adjusting to basketball playing form, Wallace said. Anthony Allen, a 6’5″ junior forward who had 100 rebounds last year, has also been out.
“Missing those two guys is huge as far as rebounding and second-shot attempts,” said Wallace, who hoped that time off over the holidays would give his players time to rest and heal their bodies.
Other key players are Ian Golden (6’1″, senior, guard), George McCurdy (6’2″, senior, guard), Jared Barnes (6’3″, senior, guard), Simon Blair (6’6″, senior, forward) and Tyler Pinder (6’0″, senior, guard).
“Ian is a kid who has played a lot for us,” Wallace said. “Jared is just that kid that does everything we need him to do. He takes charge, blocks out, rebounds, he can play all five positions for us. Simon is another kid that came off the bench last year. Right now, he is starting for us.”
From the bench, Wallace is excited about Aaron Johnson (6’2″, junior, guard), Connor Dowd (6’4″, sophomore, guard) and Ethan Ellison (6’5″, sophomore, center.
“Aaron is probably one of our best rebounding guards,” Wallace said. “I think he has great potential and is going to be good for us.
“Connor is a kid who can really shoot the ball, and Ethan Ellison plays inside for us. He’s athletic and is figuring out where he fits in the puzzle every time he gets in,” Wallace said.
When it comes to COVID-19, Wallace agrees it’s the question of the year.
“Everybody has had to deal with it differently,” Wallace said. “You just don’t know when you’re going to get that phone call that someone is quarantined and can’t play. We try to structure practice a little bit differently as far as which kids are always playing together. We try to mix them up a lot more. I tell them everybody has to be ready and that you never know when your time is going to be called.”
Broken Arrow resumed action Jan. 5 at Booker T. Washington. Through the remainder of the month, the Tigers will play in the Skiatook Tournament (Jan. 7-9), will host Jenks (Jan. 12), travel to Owasso (Jan. 15), host Muskogee (Jan. 19) and finish the month with back-to-back road games against Bartlesville (Jan. 26) and Bixby (Jan. 29).
“Based on who they have back, I think Owasso is going to be really tough this year,” Wallace said. “They have a lot of guys back and they’re athletic. I’ve told people they’re a lot like us and they can break you down. Then you have Jenks with Chase (Martin) and Bixby is also picking up. I don’t think there are ever any easy games in our conference.
“One thing I try to tell the kids is when we step on the floor, every team wants to beat you and if you don’t want to beat them as bad as they want to beat you, it ends up being a long night,” Wallace said.
B.A. Boys Look to Rebound After Slow Start on Greater Tulsa Reporter