Take your good shots! And remember that assists matter. On the eve of the Luther Lady Lions Basketball team’s first game of the State 2A Tournament, the team listened to some tips from members of the 1960 LHS team who made the same run.
Elsie (Fesler) Estes drove from Ardmore to cheer on the girls at a special team and family dinner. Wearing her Luther Lion letter sweater, she and teammates Sondra (Arthur) LeGrande, and Carolyn (Pickle) Lawson traded stories and memories about those days and that season. In a lot of ways, that season almost 60 years ago seemed just like yesterday.
Estes brought some of her memorabilia, including the bracket from their historic 1960 tournament appearance.
The 2019 Lions take the court Thursday at 3:30 pm against the second seed Howe. The game is at Yukon High School. The Lady Lions played a 19-9 season, and earned their seat at the state tournament last weekend with the Area consolation bid, after winning District and Regionals.
The team almost made it to state in 2018, coming within one win to get to the top eight squads in 2A and the whirlwind State Tournament. And then two powerhouse seniors graduated, Lexi Allen and Maia Wright. Both athletes are now playing college ball.
Back at the beginning of the season, Assistant Coach Carrie Schwarz told the girls a story about when her team went to state in 1979. They had only two seniors and were in a slump, with more losses than wins. But then they went on a 14 game winning streak and earned a Cinderella bid to the tournament. It was the first time in 50 years that Okarche had been to the tournament.
“I told our two seniors to step up and be leaders and that they could do it,” said Coach Schwarz. “You have to have heart and believe.” Seniors Caitlin Bailey and Lauren Coates led their team and believed.
The similar stories are playing out, and the girls from Luther’s 1960 team remember their season, and the thrill of making it to state.
The school and the town will send off the team tomorrow in style. The team will run through the middle school and elementary before boarding the the bus to state. They will have an escort by Luther Fire and Police and will wind through town before heading down Hogback toward the turnpike, and the journey of their lives.
2019 Luther Lady Lions
Caitlin Bailey, senior
Lauren Coates, senior
Raychel Stanfield, junior
Kennedy Cox, junior
Bailie Wilds, sophomore
Lindsay Kuhlman, sophomore
Shawntae Silva, freshman
Savannah Nunley, freshman
Audrey Harper, freshman