During the 2012-13 basketball season at Sulphur High School, the Lady Bulldogs were able to cap off a magical undefeated season, winning the class 3A state title.

During the 2012-13 basketball season at Sulphur High School, the Lady Bulldogs were able to cap off a magical undefeated season, winning the class 3A state title.

Five years later, one of the main pieces from that squad is still making her mark on the basketball court, at the college level.

Bailee Eldred will be entering her senior season this fall at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, after completing a successful junior campaign which was her first with the Riverhawks after two strong seasons at Murray State College in Tishomingo.

“I’ve had a really great experience since coming to Northeastern State last year,” Eldred said. “I’ve developed not only on the court as a player, but off the court as a person and in my personal life as well. I’ve been very blessed to have great coaches and teammates who have welcomed me in and made me better all around.”

During her initial run with the Riverhawks last season, Eldred averaged 8.1 points per game with 5.1 rebounds per game and 1.8 assists per game.

Northeastern State finished 10-17 overall and 6-13 in the competitive MIAA conference last season.

During her time as a player at Murray State, Eldred was just as solid on the court as she averaged nine points and 5.2 rebounds per game as a freshman, before averaging 8.5 points per game with four rebounds per game as a sophomore.

Eldred scored 10 times in double figures as a sophomore, including a season high 18 points against Seminole State.

“The biggest difference between college and high school basketball I’ve found is definitely the competition and the mental toughness needed to be successful,” Eldred said. “To be a member of the Northeastern State women’s basketball team it takes grit, toughness and dedication. You’ve got to treat it like a job. The workouts we endure are way tougher than what we did in high school.”

While she might have traded in her red and white jersey a few years ago, Eldred still keeps tabs on the Lady Bulldogs program in Sulphur and still keeps in touch with head coach Toby Todd.

“I remember so many things about Bailee from her high school career,” Todd said. “She was a fierce competition in every drill we did during practice. Her best three performances of her career came when she was a sophomore on the undefeated state championship team in 2013 on the biggest stage in Oklahoma high school basketball. I also remember her making OCA and OGBCA All-State as a senior.”

“But I always think of Bailee’s character first and foremost,” Todd added. “I’ll never forget walking into the locker room before our state championship game and she was reading her bible. That’s what I’m the most proud of is her strong character. She might be playing the last chapter of her basketball career this season, but I can’t wait to see what she will accomplish in the next part of her life.” 

Eldred added she’s always carried things she learned from coach Todd in her basketball career, as well as the other coaches she has encountered throughout her life.

“I’ve always been a ‘Coach’s kid’ and I’ve always been expected to go above and beyond,” she said. “My mom instilled in me a dedicated work ethic from a very young age. Coach (Toby) Todd prepared me to play at the collegiate level. He demanded hard work, respect, and effort. I owe a lot to that great godly coach. He’s helped me not only develop my basketball IQ, but my faith as well. He’s truly one of a kind. I also still keep in touch with a lot of my teammates from Sulphur. We share a special bond and memories that don’t just happen everyday.” 

“Murray State also prepared me to play in the toughest conference in division two basketball,” Eldred added. “Junior College was a lot of tough competition, and it made me grow as a player. Coach (Justin) Cellum showed me what college workouts were all about and expected a lot out of me.” 

While the inevitable final buzzer will soon be coming on Eldred’s basketball career, her life outside of sports will be taking her to a different kind of court.

“After I graduate college, I’m planning on attending law school and becoming an attorney,” Eldred said. “It’s been my dream since I was 12 years old. I’m hoping that God willing I’ll be able to pursue that career.”

“I’m ready to make this season the best one yet,” Eldred added. “I can’t wait to enjoy my last official basketball season even though its bittersweet. For me it’s about glorifying God and playing the best I ever have and giving it my all for my teammates and my coaches.”