By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
Since the age of three, Kate Bradley has been dribbling a basketball. Now she is among the leading scorers for Bixby.
The 5-8 junior point guard comes from a family with roots in the game.
“My grandparents were involved in basketball,” Bradley said. “My grandpa, Russell Bradley, who is 100, played basketball at OSU and coached at Muskogee High School. So he has always been involved with basketball. There’s a lot of inspiration that comes from this.”
Bradley’s parents took both Kate and her brother toward the basketball room when they were young, she said, and they were into other athletic activities too.
“My family is very surrounded by sports,” Bradley said with laughter. “My parents have always taken me to games, they’re always watching it on TV, basically, my whole life.”
Bradley says she’s a very competitive person and that is what she likes about the game.
“I like the competition and dedication it takes,” she said. “It just fuels me and I like coming in everyday and having something to strive for.”
Other sports Bradley is involved with at Bixby are softball and track. She credits the latter as a boost to her basketball skills.
“Track is very much speed and it carries over into basketball quickness-wise because you’re moving up and down the court quickly and side to side.”
After a 22-point explosion in a 61-45 win at Bartlesville on Jan. 28, Bradley was averaging 9.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. She gave credit to her team.
“It really helps when my team might have a good post inside, who knows how to get the ball and kick it back out whenever there was help,” she said. “I had girls who could drive, pull my defender off, leaving me wide open. Having that support with people who can score on their own opens up things for me. So its all like working together and that’s how I get my shots off and finish.”
The Lady Spartans were 11-6 and ranked 11th in the Class 6A girls poll after beating Sand Springs on Jan. 31. The win was their seventh straight after losses to Top 20 teams early in the season.
“I think it was honestly just us getting off to a rough start, because if you look at the teams that we played, we played high competition at the beginning and we are a very young team,” Bradley said. “So coming into that and finding our groove, gaining more confidence and you can see it carry over into every game. We’re getting better. It was just experience under our own belt.”
Among the losses were games against fellow 6A foes Union, Sapulpa and Booker T. Washington.
“I think one of our main problems in those games was we were panicking and losing focus in the second half,” she said. “Because in most of those games, you look back and we had the lead before losing it in about the third quarter to minor errors, turnovers and just not thinking. We have cut down on our mistakes, sharpened up and gotten a lot better.
“I think playing Union, Sapulpa and Booker T. again will be our biggest challenges (Bixby gets those three again this month at home). Our goal is to get to state. We have some tough teams in our area and it is going to be difficult coming up,” Bradley said.
With another year left, Bradley looks forward to leading the team next season as well.
“The thing that is really beneficial for me, because this is a young team, we have these girls who are incredible and will come back with a year under their belt. As a senior next year, I’ll continue to be their leader and help them work toward a state championship as the goal,” she said.