While the players on a respective team might change from season to season, a winning tradition is usually a certainty for the Ardmore Lady Tigers basketball team.
While the players on a respective team might change from season to season, a winning tradition is usually a certainty for the Ardmore Lady Tigers basketball team. The 2019-2020 campaign is gearing up to be much of the same this year. Ardmore will be returning multiple starters as the Lady Tigers look to capitalize on a historic season last year, which resulted in their second trip to the state tournament in the last three years. “Our biggest thing has been working on team chemistry this offseason,” Ardmore coach Debra Manley said. “When we bring players in off the bench, we need to be able to keep it moving without skipping a beat. We’re expecting a lot of our younger kids to be able to step in at certain times this season. Those younger girls are going to give us depth and fill in certain roles for us. The depth is something we desperately need this season.” One of the most important pieces returning this season for the Ardmore Lady Tigers will be Amaya Gordon, who averaged 11.3 points per game last year. She was also a member of the All-Ardmoreite girls basketball team last year. During her sophomore season Amaya finished with 10.1 points per game with 9.1 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game. Amaya will be looking to fill the role left by her older sister and All-State member Sierra, who finished last season with 17.3 points per game. Other returning starters this season will include Miyah McGee, Shakira Smith, Tiona Cohee, and Reagan McCurley. A big plus this offseason has been Amaya being able to participate in full contact drills, as she was held out last year due to injury. “Having Amaya back is priceless,” Manley said. “Anytime you are having to play without one of your best players and floor leaders, it’s hard. Having her back is going to boost us back up to where we need to be when the season starts.” “We’re expecting some great things out of Tiona and Reagan both this season,” Manley added. “They will both be playing the post role for us, and those are roles we will need big performances from this season. We’re also expecting Shakira and Miyah to step up this season and each play a big role for us on the floor.” Ardmore will open the season at home on Dec. 3 against Duncan, before heading to the Carl Albert Festival in Midwest City on Dec. 5-6. The Lady Tigers will then have road games against Durant and McAlester on Dec. 10 and Dec. 13. Last year the Lady Tigers opened the season with 16 straight victories and finished with an overall record of 23-4, which included a No. 1 ranking in Class 5A.