Years of work was put into the Edmond North girls win over Midwest City on Saturday.
Not specifically for their game versus the Bombers, but what that game provided: Edmond North’s first girls state tournament berth in nearly a decade
It was also the first for head coach Pete Papahronis with Edmond North.
"I know for us and for our team and for our program, it’s major,” he said following Saturday’s game. “Myself and my assistant, Coach Allison McIntire, have been here for six years now and when we came here the program wasn’t in the best of shape.”
Papahronis inherited a team that had won only six regular season games. There was certainly room for improvement.
In his first season with the Huskies, they went 1-17, finishing with no wins in district play.
The following year they posted the first milestone of the Papahronis tenure: a winning season. They finished 13-11, and were already gaining ground on their conference opponents.
In the 2017-18 season, hard work helped the Huskies get within one game of the state tournament — but they left empty handed. The next year yielded the same result, but it didn’t stop their drive.
“We just worked, the coaching staff has worked, the girls have worked their tails off. We’ve built a program and the girls have built this program,” Papahronis said. “This solidifies what we’ve set out to do. By going to the state tournament to put the program on the map. It all comes from the girls and the hard work, the dedication, they’ve bought in to what we’re teaching.”
One final setback came in the form of the Deer Creek Antlers last Thursday, when they defeated Edmond North by nine points, pushing the Huskies into the area consolation bracket.
But the Huskies were determined to not be found a single game short, again.
Edmond North would not be denied. They spread the wealth offensively in the first quarter and three different Huskies finished with over four points in the quarter. Laci Steele finished a perfect 4-for-4 with 8 points in the first quarter, including six in a row to close it out.
By halftime, the Huskies already owned a 12-point lead.
Toni Papahronis finished 2-for-2 from 3 in the third quarter, and Graycen Holden had 11 second-half points to lead Edmond North to a 70-42 win over the Bombers.
Despite the game being won much sooner, the girls and Coach Papahronis held their excitement in until after the final buzzer of the game. A buzzer that signified the Huskies’ sixth-ever state appearance, and their first since 2011.
Edmond North will now take on top-ranked Norman on March 12 at the Mabee Center in Tulsa at 8:30 p.m.
The Huskies will need to win three straight games to be crowned the 6A girls champions. Papahronis, who won back-to-back championships in 2008 and 2009 with the Guthrie boys, knows what it takes to win.
“I know that when you get there it’s difficult to win three games in a row, but it’s just as difficult for the other seven teams as it is for us,” he said. “Anybody that goes there has the capability to win. We’re gonna lay our hearts on the line and whatever happens, happens."