All area Class 4A basketball teams find themselves in the same position this week as they head to today's regional playoff action: One loss and their season is over.
The Dickson boys and girls head to Ada to play in today's consolation bracket. The Comet girls take on Tecumseh at 1:30 p.m., and the boys match up against Star Spencer at 3 p.m.
Both Lone Grove squads head to Elgin. The girls will play Tuttle at 1:30 p.m. and the boys take on the host Owls at 3 p.m. Madill heads to Anadarko for regional competition. Both teams will play Pauls Valley at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.
All six teams approach today's games with their backs against the wall. Sometimes that can put extra pressure on the squad and their coaching staffs, but it can also bring out the best in players and coaches who thrive on pressure situations.
"It all becomes a guessing game at this point in the season," Dickson girls coach Todd Vargas said. "You can prepare to a measure for your Thursday game, but the Friday and Saturday games don't allow you an opportunity to develop much of a strategy. The only thing you can do is take a look at the teams in the regional and see who they have played. Sometimes that gives you an idea. But you can never be sure."
Madill boys coach Aaron George will make a return trip to his alma mater for this week's games. George attended Anadarko High School, but in spite of the reunion feel of the trip, he knows his Wildcats will have their hands full with the Panthers.
"Pauls Valley has a lot of excellent athletes, and they will be difficult to beat," George said. "Our main focus right now, however, is how we can continue to improve on what we do. We plan for the opponent with some of our practice, but we must maintain an attitude of getting better at what we do."
Dickson boys coach Chuck Ryan knows his Comets are in a pressure situation. But they have been planning for that throughout the year, according to Ryan.
"We use the three tournaments we play in to try and emphasize to the players the importance of being ready three days in a row," Ryan said. "It is the same kind of set-up. The difference is that both teams go into the games this week in the consolation bracket. No one can afford to have an off-game now."
One consolation for all six squads is they will be competing in three of Oklahoma's most beautiful gymnasiums. In addition, everyone they face will be playing "on the road" just like they are. The lone exception is the Longhorn boys game against the host Elgin Owls.