Claremore Daily Progress

Local Sports

March 11, 2010

Resilient Zebras

CLAREMORE — “Whatever it takes.”

That’s the only way to describe the heartbeat of the 2009-10 Claremore Zebras.

On the court, they play with true grit and determination.

Off the court, they wear smiles, display great character and always say, ‘Yes Ma’am’ and ‘No Sir.’

Respect is something these eight seniors learned 15 years ago as toddlers and future Zebras. The parents of these men should take a bow because there’s not a finer group of basketball players in the state of Oklahoma than the ones donning the red-and-white Claremore uniforms.

For most of these guys, a basketball has been in their hand since 1995 - the last time Claremore reached the boys state basketball tournament.

And, who would have thought that 15 years later in 2010, history would be repeating itself. Of course, this senior class wants to be remembered for something more.

“They’re not content with getting to the state tournament,” Zebras head coach Tim Stewart said. “They want to be the first class that has won it all.”

In 1995, the Zebras came within a game of playing for the whole enchilada, however their season ended in the semifinals.

A week ago, the Zebras needed a game-winning basket from senior guard Ben James to continue their quest toward bringing home the state championship trophy.

Stewart, who will celebrate his 39th birthday later this year, remembers 1995 as if he were still walking the halls of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.

“That was the year that I graduated and got my first coaching job,” Stewart said. “I was a junior high and varsity assistant basketball coach at Glenpool.”

And now Stewart is 38, married to a wonderful wife and the father of an amazing son, who enjoys cartoons and spending time playing H-O-R-S-E inside the Frank Mobra Field House with his brothers - the 17 members of this year’s Claremore basketball team.

Each member of this team, including the eight seniors, have gained the respect not only of their coach, but Eastern Oklahoma and the city of Claremore.

This team has also won the most games in school history with 24 victories.

This team also went undefeated inside the Frank Mobra Field House, marking the first time in school history.

And hopefully, come Saturday at 3 p.m. when the final buzzer sounds inside the Mabee Center, this team will be hoisting Claremore’s first state championship trophy at center court.

“Right now, we’re 24-2,” Stewart said. “Hopefully by Saturday, we’ll be 27-2.”

Where there is a ‘will’, these Zebras find a ‘way’.

(Tim Ritter is sports editor of the Claremore Daily Progress. He can be reached by e-mail at

Text Only
Local Sports
  • Mudcat 5K Runners get muddy, help raise funds for Burn Camp

    Bright and early June 14, 42 runners from as far away as Nazareth, Texas lined up for the Inaugural MudCat 5k Mud Run. The MudCat 5k is a fun run organized by Claremore Firefighters to rase money for the Oklahoma Firefighter’s Burn Camp. 

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wrestling Hall OSU’s Guerrero named to National Wrestling Hall

    As a three-time NCAA national champion and a four-time All-American, Eric Guerrero normally prefers the spotlight of the wrestling mat.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Verdigris holds off Arnett

    Verdigris’ torrid shooting finally cooled in the second half, but the Cardinals held on to beat Arnett 71-67 on Friday in consolation bracket play of the Tournament of Champions at Mabee Center.

    December 29, 2012

  • Lady Cards edge Colbert

    Junior guard Caitlyn Hansolvan meshed a three-point shot from the right corner with 10 seconds left, lifting the Verdigris girls to a 50-48 victory over Colbert Friday in consolation bracket play of the Tournament of Champions at Mabee Center.

    December 29, 2012

  • Hardin to be inducted into Oklahoma’s Tournament of Champions Hall of Fame

    Jenny Hardin, one of a handful of players to have participated in three Oklahoma’s Best high school girls basketball tournaments, is being inducted into the Oklahoma’s Tournament of Champions Hall of Fame on Saturday.

    December 28, 2012

  • Jenks beats Verdigris girls in first round of tourney

    No. 16 Class 6A Jenks used its size and depth to full advantage, easing past the 3A fourth-ranked Verdigris girls 54-40 in the Tournament of Champions Thursday at Mabee Center.

    December 28, 2012

  • DSC_8968web.jpg District Champs!

    “Champions don’t talk, they just perform.”
    The Claremore High School freshmen Zebras brought home the Metro Lakes title last Monday night at Bishop Kelley, thanks to the “Heisman-like” performance of all-purpose standout Dustin Basks.
    Basks scored Claremore’s first 20 points on a pass play, a kickoff return and an interception return — all in the first half.
    Looking like former Michigan Wolverine sensation Charles Woodson, Basks proved to be ‘unstoppable’ while leading the Zebras to a 33-13 victory over the previously unbeaten Comets.

    October 22, 2011 8 Photos

  • Homecoming tonight in Foyil

    The stands will be full with Panther pride tonight as Foyil High School hosts Hulbert for Homecoming.
    Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. with homecoming ceremonies starting at 7 p.m.

    October 20, 2011

  • Zebras hungry for victory

    Every setback is a setup for an even greater comeback.
    That’s been the motto all season long for the Claremore Zebra football team.
    “We’ve been close in a lot of games,” Zebra head coach Rob Gilbreath said, “... just haven’t been able to finish or catch a break.”
    At 7:30 p.m. tonight in Grove, the Zebras are hoping to get a heavy monkey off their back and end a two-game losing in District 5A-4 play.

    October 20, 2011

  • Chelsea battles Lincoln Christian in District 2A-7 action tonight

    Can the Chelsea Green Dragons take down Lincoln Christian for the second year in a row?
    Inside the Chelsea locker room, tonight’s showdown in Tulsa has been circled on the calendar ever since last season’s 26-21 victory over the Bulldogs.

    October 20, 2011