Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are those purely of the individual writing them, and do not in any way constitute an official stance or opinion of either Gatehouse Media, or the Dodge City Daily Globe.
This is the first writing of what will be a monthly column covering local sports. Enjoy.
Tuesday night, the Dodge City Red Demons basketball teams finished up their calendar-year 2017 schedules with games against the Guymon Tigers. The girls team lost on a buzzer-beater, the boys team basically led from start to finish.
After interviewing girls head coach Kelley Snodgrass and boys head coach Tony Starnes Tuesday night, and having crunched stats through the first four games for the girls team, I have a few observations I’d like to share.
As far as the boys team:
Something that was really interesting to me Tuesday was the contrast between the final score and the way coach Starnes saw it. He praised his players, mentioning a bunch of them including Dawson Williams and basically his entire team for what he called a “team effort.”
The Red Demons boys team won their game against the Tigers by 32. My unofficial scorekeeping showed the Red Demons never trailed, and only once was the score tied, at 2-2 early. The Red Demons ended up winning 91-59.
Yet talking to Starnes afterward, he actually seemed less than happy with it. He said the team had a tough practice Monday, and that, he said, led to them playing the way they did Tuesday, which wasn’t up to their potential.
“The first half I thought we were really pitiful,” Starnes said. “Everyone was in foul-trouble because they’re out of their stance, reaching instead of moving, everyone was a step slow, shots weren’t falling because we were catching ’em standing straight-up instead of catching it ready.”
That is interesting to me. The Red Demons had five double-digit scorers Tuesday night. John Johnson had nine points, Cody Ibarra had nine and Dawson Williams had seven.
The team moved to 2-3 overall with the win.
If Starnes is right, and I’ll assume he is because he as a coach has more knowledge of the team than I do as a writer, than this team could be really, really good.
It’s too hard to know what their potential is, or how that translates into the basic measurable of wins and loses. Also, the team is only five games into their schedule, so the season is definitely young.
But winning any game by 30 is no small task. If that’s how this team can win on a night when they don’t play up to their potential, it’ll be exciting for basketball fans to see how they look when they do.
On the girls side:
The Lady Demons lost Tuesday night on a buzzer-beater, but while it was an undoubtably-tough loss for the team, head coach Kelley Snodgrass said something afterward which I thought was insightful.
“I think it’ll just drive them,” Snodgrass said. “We’ve got a lot of competitors, so I think they’re just gonna work twice as hard in the break. Obviously we’ll watch film and learn from it, but it’s not always bad to have a reality-check right before a break, because they’re gonna come back and work hard.”
This is a young team, with only two seniors. Entering the game against Guymon, the team was 3-1, with that lone loss coming on the road against the defending 6A State Champion Manhattan Indians.
Based on what Snodgrass said above, it’ll be interesting to see what progress they make going into the spring 2018 portion of their schedule.
Regardless of how much progress they make this winter, and how far that takes the Lady Demons this season, it seems obvious that this team is heading rapidly in the right direction, partly, I believe, because of the mixture of youth and experience in the starting rotation.
In general, the team’s starting rotation seems to be generally four players: Junior Madison Armstrong, junior Ezinne Okoro, sophomore Chidera Okoro and freshman Kisa Unruh.
That combination of players has accounted for 19 of the team’s 25 total starts this season. That’s a relevant statistic because none of them are seniors.
I say again: None of them are seniors.
Who knows what’ll happen: Athletes leave sports all the time because of any number of things from injuries to realizing they like other sports better.
But if this cast does stay healthy and does decide to stay together, it’ll be an exciting team to watch, and not just this year.