SULPHUR — On a normal summer day in Sulphur there’s bound to be a basketball game being played somewhere on the campus of Sulphur High School in one of the many gymnasiums around the campus.

SULPHUR — On a normal summer day in Sulphur there’s bound to be a basketball game being played somewhere on the campus of Sulphur High School in one of the many gymnasiums around the campus.

Inside the old “Rock” gymnasium on this particular day there’s a game being played as part of the Sulphur summer league team camp. 

The referee is none other than former Lady Bulldogs standout Payton Row.

While blowing the whistle and calling fouls during summer league games might be a far cry from the bright lights of the state tournament in front of a packed Sulphur crowd, it’s something the college bound Row still cherishes as part of an experience she’s grown up with all her life in Sulphur. 

“I couldn’t have asked for a better town to play basketball in than Sulphur, Oklahoma,” Row said. “Everyone here is all so supportive. Coach (Toby) Todd is one of the best coaches around here, and he’s one of the best coaches I could have ever gotten to play for. He’s a godly man who supports us through everything no matter what it is, and I’ll always love him for that.”

Earlier this month, Row got to live one of her dreams as she got to play in the Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches Association All-State game at Norman North High School.

To make the moment even more special, Row got to the escorted by coach Todd at the game, something she wasn’t sure was going to happen, but admitted she was glad it did.

“It was a great feeling and an amazing moment for me,” Row said about being escorted by her coach at All-State. “My role models in basketball made All-State, and I wanted to follow in their footsteps. My mom, Ashley Hughes, Bailee Eldred, and so many others have played a part in making me the person and the player I am today.”

If there was ever such a thing as going out with a bang, Row certainly did that during her senior year.

The Lady Bulldogs standout led the team with 16 points per game last season, while racking up OGBCA and Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State honors in the process.

Row will be playing in the OCA All-State game during the month of July on the campus of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. 

She was also named as the 2018-19 Girls Basketball Offensive Player of the Year on the All-Ardmoreite basketball team for the season.

To make the season more special, Sulphur made the state tournament for the first time since the 2013 season this year. 

As for the future, Row will be continuing her playing career at Redlands College in El Reno this fall.

“I’m looking forward to some new challenges, and meeting new people at the same time when I go to Redlands,” Row said. “I’d tell my girls who are still here at Sulphur to work as a team, have fun doing it, and go out there and try to win a state championship.”