VETERAN STAR: Mya Bhinhar is one of three returning starters expected to lead the Lady Rams this season.
Courtesy Owasso Athletic Department
Basketball is a sport Mya Bhinhar takes seriously.
The 5-8 junior power forward from Owasso puts in a lot of practice, whether it be shooting through the net at her home backboard or at the school gym.
“I’ve been working more on my jump shot, like midrange, and my three,” Bhinhar says. “My strengths are distributing the ball, but I need to be better with scoring in the paint area. That’s what I’ve been working on.”
When she wants to shoot at the gym, she’ll text her coach, Matt Sweeney, and he’ll let her in. She gets the (shooting) gun out, and she’ll shoot.
Bhinhar, committed to the University of Arkansas, was a key part of Owasso’s Class 6A state runner-up team last year. During the 2015-16 campaign, Bhinhar averaged 11 points, 6.3 rebounds, three assists and two steals per game. She also blocked 26 shots. The Lady Rams had upset two-time champion Broken Arrow in the semifinals before losing to Midwest City in the championship game. The accomplishment was huge.
“It was truly a blessing,” Bhinhar says. “We were the underdog all year and we came up and proved everyone wrong. Knowing that, it doesn’t matter what you are ranked or what your season has been. We know that we can get to that level.”
However, the loss was hard to take. Especially, since Bhinhar was only able to play three minutes before leaving the game with a knee pain. She did not have a point or a rebound in that game.
“It has lit a fire in us,” Bhinhar says. “For those that got to experience that, it really has put an extra drive in us to get some more shots up and push ourselves a lot harder. I think it’ll help us more through the season because we’re not satisfied with what we got.”
Owasso will be in more of a rebuilding phase this year. Gone are standouts Rachel Skalnik and Jordan Kunka, who graduated last spring. Bhinhar, along with fellow juniors Terryn Milton (5-6, shooting guard) and Leiloni Culley (5-10, forward) are the only returning starters.
But new talent on the rise gives Bhinhar reason to believe the Lady Rams can make state again.
“With us (rebuilding), it’ll make the newcomers and the young kids coming up understand how big their rolls are, and it’ll push them harder to be the best players they can be,” Bhinhar says. “They are inexperienced, but I think through the season, especially in the beginning, when they get some of those tight games under their belt, we’ll be good at least by the end of this season. We’ll probably start peaking, just when you want to peak.”
The Lady Rams open the season Dec. 6 against Muskogee, a state semifinalist from last season. That will be a tough challenge. Sand Springs and Bartlesville are projected to be tough foes this year.
Court vision is what Bhinhar believes her best attributes as a basketball player.
“I always see that extra pass and know when to pass it,” Bhinhar says. “Pushing my teammates as a leader, I’m more of a leader for them vocally and I’m hardworking with them and I think I set a fire within my teammates to makes them want to be better.
“Leiloni is very physical inside. Terryn is good with her court awareness. She brings a humility to our team in how she plays. It’s good because they lead in more different ways than me. I’m more of the vocal one just to help people out. We balance off each other good.
Owasso also welcomes Riley Boone, a sophomore transfer from Edison, who also plays for the softball team. She is already committed to play that sport at the University of Oklahoma.
There is also some other promising freshman coming in, so things look bright for Bhinhar and the Lady Rams.