The Class 4A 15th-ranked Harrah Lady Panthers have been battle-tested this season and will continue on that rugged course while playing in the 2018 Vision Bank Bertha Frank Teague Mid-America Classic Dec. 27-29.
Harrah, 4-3 on the season and the defending Mid-America champ, will take on Class 3A third-ranked Kingston, 7-1, in the first game of the classic at 3 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27.
Coach Jeff Mahoney’s Lady Panthers have faced three Class 6A teams and one 5A squad. All of three of their losses have come by a combined seven points.
“We’ve had a really tough schedule. We’re not too far from being undefeated,” said Mahoney. “When you step up and play teams in bigger classes it does you good.”
Harrah has been led by its lone returning starter from 2017-2018 in 5-foot, 4-inch junior point guard Katie King, who is averaging 23 points per game this year.
“She’s our leader and go-to kid ... a really good shooter, penetrator and passer. She is playing at a high level,” Mahoney said.
Two other impact players for the Lady Panthers are 5-6 sophomore guard Katie Klimkowski and 6-0 senior Kambri Ingraham.
“Those three kids played lots of minutes for us last year,” said Mahoney.
Ingraham is just getting her legs back under her after missing the early portion of the season with an injury.
Mahoney, taking advantage of some depth, has been employing nine to 10 players on a regular basis this year.
Senior Makenzie Lasker, a 5-7 senior, and 5-6 senior Tionna Cooper have been solid for Harrah as well.
“Kenzie has been shooting well. Tionna is really athletic. She was a state qualifier in the sprint and hurdles last year,” Mahoney said.
Savannah Fish, a 5-8 junior; Kaitlyn Wynn, a 5-10 junior and Kayely Willard, a 5-8 senior, are making contributions, according to Mahoney.
“We pretty much run a platoon after the first three kids,” said Mahoney.
The Kingston Lady Redskins were state runners-up in Class 3A in 2018-2019.
“They have good size and good shooters. They will be a really good test for us,” Mahoney said. “(Chad) Rumer does a good job coaching them.”
Kingston’s only loss came to Class 2A No. 1 Dale in the semifinals of the Oklahoma Baptist University Bison Invitational in Shawnee Dec. 7. Since then, the Lady Redskins have rolled to three straight wins, with the latest being a 56-33 decision over Lindsay for third place in that weather-delayed Bison Invitational last Saturday.
In its seven victories this season, Kingston has beaten the opposition by an average of 34 points.
During the 2017-2018 season, 6-0 Avri Weeks averaged 11.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in a strong freshman campaign. Danna Wagnon, now a junior, sported scoring and rebounding averages of 9.3 and 6.5, respectively.
Kingston also returns two 5-7 junior guards in Brit Henderson and Kassie Bailey. Henderson averaged 8.0 points per contest last year, while Bailey averaged four ppg. Junior Tyla Bohannon, at 5-11, and sophomore Brittany Osteen, at 5-8, have been providing depth inside while sophomores Emi Osteen, at 5-5, and Kiara Price, at 5-7, help with depth at guard.
The Mid-America Tournament, sponsored by Vision Bank, is set for Dec. 27-29. Games begin at 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday.