By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
RETURNING STARTER: Riley Boone (No. 4) defends as a Putnam City West ball handler dribbles the ball in the 2018 Class 6A girls state championship game last March at the ORU Mabee Center. Boone was named defensive player of the year last year.
Photo by Christian Campbell
Three key players have graduated and are gone. But, coach Matt Sweeney is excited as another season draws near for his Owasso Lady Rams.
Mya Bhinhar, Terryn Milton and Leoloni Culley were the veteran leaders of last year’s team, which finished 26-3 along with winning the Class 6A girls’ title. Having also played for the 2016 runner-up squad, they are now in college. But, there is plenty of talent for Owasso to make another run.
“They’ll be tough to replace, but, we played nine kids last year in most of our games,” Sweeney said. “So, we have a lot of experience coming back. I think we’ll be okay in that aspect. We’ve got good ballhandlers and good shooters,. We’ll survive.”
One key returning starter is 5’4” guard Rylie Boone, a senior. There is also a strong cast of players around her.
“We have a nice move-in, Avery Allen,” Sweeney said. “She’s going to be a great ball handler, shooter, passer and bring a good dynamic to our game. Avery VanCuren (5’8” senior guard) is back. She is also a great shooter, ball handler and brings a lot of energy to this team. She’ll get us going.”
Seniors Nyla Finch, a 5’9” forward, and Kianna Cunningham, a 5’4” guard, are also back.
“Nyla’s ball handling has improved a lot,” Sweeney said. “She can shoot the ball well. Kianna is really fast. I call her ‘speedy.’ Her shooting has gone up a lot, as has her percentage from the 3-point line. She has some good aspects in that area.”
Despite the losses to graduation, that won’t stop the Lady Rams from having a target on their back.
“Most definitely,” Sweeney said. “I had a lot of coaches calling us this summer wanting to scrimmage us. We accommodated as many as we could, but we got some very tough scrimmages.”
Included among them is Adair, that made the state semifinals last year.
“We got our hands full for sure,” Sweeney said.
As for the toughest opponents on the schedule, it will be the usual foes.
“Sand Springs will be talented. They have everyone back from last year,” Sweeney said. “Bartlesville has a nice move-in. They ran the table in our conference last year. Sapulpa will be tough. They were young last year. Coach (Darlene) Calip does a good job. Jenks really looked good this summer. Bixby will be good. It’s going to be a tough conference again.”