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Broken Arrow Express

Tigers Begin Basketball Season Highly Ranked

GTR Sports Writer

B.A. HOOPS: The Broken Arrow boys hope to make the Class 6A state tournament and go further in 2018.

With most of its starting lineup back, the Broken Arrow Tigers are poised for a return to the state tournament this year. Loaded with experience, they were ranked No. 2 in the Class 6A boys poll going into the season opener in early December.

The Tigers, who finished 20-8 last season, went to state but lost to Edmond North in the first round. They want to go further than that this year.

“Anytime you make state, it is a meaningful thing,” Broken Arrow coach Beau Wallace says. “The thing we talk about with our kids quite a bit is not getting complacent with just making state, because we’ve made state over and over and throughout the course of Broken Arrow’s history. We made state when I was here playing, and as an assistant coach, and now as a head coach. We just keep talking about ‘How do you advance?’ We should expect to make state every year. I want to advance and have a chance at putting another gold ball in our trophy case.”

Wallace played for the 1997 team that won the state championship, coached by John Phillips, who went on to coach at the University of Tulsa. The ’97 team remains as Broken Arrow’s only state championship in boys’ basketball.

Wallace makes it clear he is not big on moral victories.

“We want more than just getting there,” he says.

Broken Arrow lost two starters, Tony Hall and Taylor Gonzales, to graduation last year. But the others return. The players back are Braden Boyer (6-7, senior, forward), Major Smith (6-0, senior, guard), and Caleb Huffman (6-4, senior, guard). There is also Damian Everette (6-1, junior), who just came in from football, and Camryn Dennis (6-4, junior, guard), who was the first player off the bench last year.

“He is expected to move into the starting role this year,” Wallace says of Dennis.
Another player expected to impact the Tigers is Josh Robinson (6-5, senior, guard), a move-in from Paris, Texas.

“Josh averaged 27 points per game last year. There were a couple of games where he scored 40 and 50 points. He is a heck of a talent. Athletically, he can run the floor, and he can rebound.

“That’s a great mix between those six,” Wallace says.

As for as the other players, Wallace praises their skills and talents as well.

“Damian (averaged 2.7 points per game last season) is a tough kid. We don’t really look for him to score a whole bunch for us,” Wallace says. “He is a leader who is not afraid to go mix it up and guard it big. Damian is one of those kids where we look for him to be a defender for us. He is kind of in the same boat as Major Smith.

“Major (5.3 ppg) is another kid who just leads the team for us. He runs the point guard and just gets everybody where they are supposed to be. He is another kid that can guard almost any position, and he can play any position because he knows them all,” Wallace says. 

In preseason scrimmages, the Tigers have started Boyer, Robinson, Dennis, Huffman and Smith.

“The key to Braden (7.3 ppg, 5.1 rebounds per game) is just him staying aggressive,” Wallace says. “He always plays with a high motor. He is a big 6-7 kid inside who’s got good footwork and shoots the ball from midrange pretty well. He has extended his range a little bit, where he can occasionally knock down that 3. But he is a rim protector, a rebounder, and gets easy buckets inside for us.

“Camryn (8.5 ppg) is a really special talent,” Wallace adds. “I’ve seen a lot of maturity in him as he plays and competes every day. He can really score with the ball. He can shoot it and can get to the rim. He’s a really explosive guard. We’re going to rely on him to score a lot of points.

“Huffman (16.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg) is really explosive, quick; the biggest thing for him is defensive rebounding,” Wallace says. “He is starting to get to the point, where he is grabbing rebounds, and now we don’t have to kick it out because he is a good enough ball handler. He can push the ball up the floor and create offense for us. He is probably one of the fastest guards in the state with the ball in his hand.”

Logan Dolan (6-0, junior, guard, 3.7 ppg) along with brothers Tyre (5-7, senior, guard) and Tyler (5-11, freshman, guard) Pinder are also expected to get some playing minutes.  

The Tigers opened their season Dec. 5 at Jenks and hosted their own tournament the following weekend.  Union, Owasso, Sand Springs, Muskogee and Jenks are the teams they expect to be most challenging to their goals.

Updated 12-19-2017

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