The Memorial Bulldogs won’t host a basketball game until January 31st.
But Memorial boys head coach Shane Cowherd said they knew a lengthy road trip was coming, and it’s something the Bulldogs have started preparing for before the season even commenced.
“We knew we were going to have a really long stretch,” Cowherd explained. “We didn’t have one home scrimmage so our guys could get acclimated with being on the road.”
Cowherd said the whole aspect of a lengthy road trip is uncomfortable. Traveling obviously means more hours spent away from the dog house, but don’t forget about the cramped leg space, bus rides, and crowds roaring against you. Cowherd had his boys hitting the pavement before they started keeping records of wins and losses, because he knew a month was coming where they’d play nine of 10 with their ships outside of the harbor.
Cowherd also agreed that a unique circumstance — Memorial’s gymnasium renovations years prior — may help this year’s seniors conquer the upcoming road-heavy month.
“Every year is a different animal of itself, but we also did try to replicate that,” he said. Two seasons prior to this year, Edmond Memorial played every contest on the road while their gymnasium underwent heavy renovations. The hope is for this year’s upperclassmen to remember how they succeeded despite that, and use their experience to lead through all the obstacles that will be present this January.
Those nine games aren’t cakewalks, either. Tied up in the trip is two tournaments with strong fields — Deer Creek’s Bruce Gray and this weekend’s 60th annual Bishop McGuinness Classic. The coach is hoping that his team can garnish some playoff experience: Both from the travel, but also from the level of competition.
“It’s going to be a good, playoff-driven mentality with this competition,” Cowherd said on Monday. “Every one of them is qualified to win on any given night — no game is going to be optional for us to show up. We have to do the things we do at a high level and work hard. We’re excited to be back.”
Cowherd’s ‘Dogs have unranked Norman on Tuesday night, but after that they’re in the Bishop with 6A No. 4 Midwest City, No. 10 Norman North, No. 14 Edmond Santa Fe and No. 15 Choctaw. After that they’ll draw the Norman North and Deer Creek teams in regular season contests before the Bruce Gray Invitational starts on January 23.