The Lawton High basketball teams begin their 2019-20 seasons tonight, though they enter the season with two different team makeups.
While the boys essentially return everyone from last year’s 13-11 team that sprung late-season upsets over MacArthur and Putnam City North, the girls are looking to build around a young nucleus after a season that saw just one win.
Both teams open the season in Choctaw tonight, with the girls starting at 8 p.m. and the boys to follow right after.
Experience, depth key to LHS boys
After not graduating anyone in 2019, the Lawton High boys team brings back its entire roster from last year.
But Coach Eric Wiley also received a bonus addition when guard Sep Reese transferred over from MacArthur over the summer. After having to face Reese for three years, Wiley finally gets to reap the benefits of having the explosive guard in his own backcourt.
“He’s gonna be an ideal part of our offense, I think,” Wiley said.
Reese will pair up with Jaylen Swift and Marty Perry in the backcourt. On the wings, the Wolverines return key role players in Demarcus Andrews and Eric Wiley, Jr.
In the front court, Laquon Williams brings size (6’8) as well as shooting ability. Fellow post player Ashawnti Hunter is entering his fourth year as a starter for the Wolverines.
After tonight’s game in Choctaw, the Wolverines travel to the Edmond Open. Wiley believes playing those types of games will only make his team better.
The Wolverines won’t play a home game until Jan. 7 against Eisenhower. Wiley said he enjoys the home-game atmosphere, but says he wants his players to feel comfortable playing on the road as well.
“I try to get my guys used to playing on the road,” Wiley said. “I think we play better on the road. It really puts the focus on the game. There’s no Scream Team, no home crowd, it’s just us playing for us.”
LHS girls reliant on combination of speed, size
Coach Amanda Zagoske begins her second season as head coach. And while her first season wasn’t quite what she had envisioned, she believes she has a group of girls who aren’t just ready to compete, but girls she can trust.
It starts with the two senior captains. B’lajine Johnson, who Zagoske calls “crazy fast”, will be vital to the Wolverines success in the backcourt. The other captain, Leilani Jackson, spent the latter half of last season dealing with an injury. But Zagoske has been encouraged by what she’s seen from Jackson during preseason scrimmages and believes she’s ready to go.
Lawton High will also depend on sophomores Liz Omunsinde and Dalena Fisher. Fisher was the team’s leading scorer as a freshman, and the combo guard should continue to score in bunches. At 6’1, Omunsinde gives LHS some size. With a 6’8 father who played professionally in Africa, she comes from good bloodlines.
“After practice, they’ll play one-on-one and he’s ruthless,” Zagoske said. “He’ll block her shot, and say, ‘You got to try harder, Liz!’ It’s pretty cute.”
In addition to Omunsinde, Lawton High has two 6’0 freshmen who could see varsity minutes. But on the whole, the team will be very guard-heavy.
“Our traditional lineup is 2 posts, 3 guards, but we run a lot of 4-guard lineups,” Zagoske said.