Special to The Sun
The quest for a third straight state championship has begun for head coach Paul Bass and the Edmond Santa Fe girls basketball team.
Bass has guided the Lady Wolves to four straight state tournament appearances and currently is riding a 37-game winning streak, which includes two Class 6A state championship game victories. Edmond Santa Fe’s record in the two title-winning seasons is 52-1.
“Last year was extraordinary,” Bass said.
Bass eclipsed 200 wins last season and maintains the same attitude now. “It’s not about me,” he said after that victory. “I can be coach of the year, it doesn’t matter with these girls,” Bass said. The head coach said that not anyone can coach this team but that the girls make it easy.
The Lady Wolves lost seven starters from their most recent championship squad including Gatorade Player of the Year Courtney Walker. “You can’t replace her,” Bass said.
“As a program you always try to bring up freshman. When I do lose some, we’re OK.”
Leading the way this season will be some new faces and range from freshman to senior. Senior Cameerah Graves and junior Mariah Williams are two of the best guards in the state according to Bass and senior Aaliyah Davis is also a star guard. “They (Graves and Williams) are the best duo and will be hard to contend,” Bass said.
“We have two outstanding freshmen,” Bass said regarding Aahliyah Jackson and Summer Jones. “Aahliyah Jackson is going to be a star.”
The Cooper twins are two more players high on the coach’s radar. Bass said they are similar to the Paris twins that played for Oklahoma a few years ago in that they can punish you inside. Alaina and Alexis Copper are both 6 feet tall and sophomores who are expected to contribute this season.
“All of them played in the state tournament, with the exception of the freshmen, they’ve all played in two state championships,” Bass said. “My younger guns, they just don’t fear. They have got the taste in their mouth.”
Bass said that this year’s team will run and gun, a style he has stuck with for more than 20 years. The Lady Wolves will create offense from their defense. Last year’s team scored 15-17 points per game because of their defense and Bass expects the same. “That’s what creates points.”
“We practice about 70 percent defense,” Bass said. “What makes our defense work so well is our style.”
Bass referred to something he was told by former University of Central Oklahoma head coach Jim Seward: “You can’t have the offense dictate the game, you have to change it with your defense.”
The Lady Wolves jump right into action with a contest against Edmond North High School at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Lady Huskies were the last team to beat Santa Fe in February of the 2010-11 season. Dec. 17 will feature a match with the Lady Bulldogs form Edmond Memorial, a rematch of the Class 6A State Championship game from a year ago.