Special to The Sun
The Oklahoma Christian Academy Eagles boys basketball team, looking to rebound from last year’s 8-15 showing, has the potential to be a scoring threat even as they work to overcome player injuries from the football season.
The Eagles, under head coach Elzie Clark, have gone 46-43 since 2008, and have opened their Class A season 1-1, most recently with a 56-52 loss on the road against Geary.
“Last year, I was missing (senior) Chase Yager, one of our starters, for most of the season. He came back for the last six games,” Clark said. “We won six of our last seven, and faced a tough Agra team in the first round of the playoffs, but we came up short.”
The Eagles return four seniors on a roster dominated by sophomores. One of those seniors, scoring leader Zach Ruff, is currently nursing a broken foot and is expected to return to play for Clark in January.
Size is not a department the Eagles will look to dominate in, posting only five players 6 feet or taller — Yager, sophomore Josh Evans, sophomore John Zehr, senior Jacob Jones, and juniors Garrett Duckworth and Alan Garner.
For Evans and his Eagles, playing to his team’s strengths will be key to competing in a class currently led by undefeated four-win teams Drummond, Cheyenne/Reydon and Wright City.
“One thing that we really preach is togetherness, playing with purpose,” Clark said. “That purpose we play for is to, one, give God the glory, and two, to show through basketball. We play hard, one thing you can’t show on a scouting report is how hard we play. The team, they continue, whether they turned the ball over or were missing shots, they don’t get down. They come back and they play harder.”
OCA will have its home opener Nov. 27 when the Eagles host the Cashion Wildcats. Homecoming will be Jan. 11 against the Harding Fine Arts Academy Firehawks.
Despite starting the season injured, Ruff is counted among the top 100 basketball players in Oklahoma in any class, according to Vype Magazine.