Special to The Sun
The Deer Creek girls basketball team has high expectations this season, but they’re not alone in that thinking. The Lady Antlers enter the 2012-13 season ranked No. 2 in the Class 5A coaches poll.
“It’s nice for our girls to get that recognition but we need to maintain that high level of play all year,” Deer Creek coach Totsy Manning said. “Being ranked that high puts a target on our backs, and we need to be ready for it.”
The Lady Antlers should have the experience and maturity to handle the expectations. Leading the way for the team this year will be the senior duo of Ashley Gibson and Alexa Adair, who have many games under their belts.
Gibson can take over a game with her offense and athleticism. Last year, she averaged 11.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3 steals per game. Adair is also a capable scorer, averaging 6.3 points and nearly 2 assists per game as a junior.
“We are a very experienced team with a very high basketball IQ,” Manning said. “A lot of our girls have been playing since they were freshmen.”
Deer Creek also has some talented young players. Whitney Jones and Bayli Blanchard scored 7 points per game last year. Sophomore Dakota Vann provided a spark off the bench last year and will see an increased role this year.
“We have a very versatile lineup with three or four girls that can bring the ball up the court at any time,” Manning said. “And we have good size so we can always post them up too and take advantage of mismatches.”
The Lady Antlers figure to vie for a championship in a crowded Suburban Conference. Carl Albert is ranked third, defending state champion Shawnee is fourth and Piedmont is picked seventh in Class 5A.
Tulsa East Central is ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll.
Deer Creek will travel to Durant and Bethany for their first two tournaments. They will then host the Bruce Gray Invitational Jan. 24-26.
The Lady Antlers advanced to the Area Tournament in 2011. They open the season at home Nov. 30 against Piedmont.