When starting five sophomores, growing pains are expected.
That is the situation the Sequoyah girls basketball team finds itself in as it enters the second full week of the 2019-20 season.
The Lady Eagles (1-3) opened the year with a one-point loss to Rogers County foe Inola on Dec. 6 before competing in the Adair Invitational last week.
They defeated Wyandotte, 38-32, in the first round but were beaten by Class 3A No. 2 Adair and Gravette (Ark.) by a combined score of 119-53.
Although Sequoyah went 1-2 in the tournament, coach Richie Burks said he believes his team got better.
“Against Wyandotte, I didn’t think we played particularly great, but they were able to get it done,” Burks said. “Against Adair, they have eight seniors, and we got exposed to some physicality; 15-year-olds against seniors makes it tough. Gravette is pretty good, too.
“We’re not very big, and rebounding is an issue.”
One bright spot for the Lady Eagles was Kyra Crenshaw.
The sophomore scored all but 30 of the team’s 53 points through the three-game tournament, finishing with 23 points. Her best performance came in a 15-point outing against Wyandotte.
“She’s good all around,” Burks said. “She did a good job on the offensive boards, did a good job on the defensive boards and she’s guarding their best players most of the time. She’s kind of our go-to.”
Aside from one half, the Sequoyah boys had themselves quite a showing at the Adair Invitational.
The Eagles (3-1) claimed third place, defeating Wyandotte, 52-37, and Dewey, 60-42, in the process.
Their only loss came in a 55-34 decision against Adair in which Sequoyah held a lead in the first quarter.
Looking ahead, coach Larry Grigg rested his starters after falling behind by 20 in the second half.
“We had a bad second half against Adair, but other than that, we played five solid halves,” Grigg said. “It was 29-21 at half, and we missed six free throws. We gave up 21 points in the second quarter. They play baseline to baseline, so you’re going to be at the free-throw line, and you have to hit those.
“We had to play the next night, and I made the decision to save our legs. But our young kids came in and kept it about even. They got them some experience that you just can’t get at practice.”
Blake Bedsworth, Braxton Bulman and Dakota Page all earned high praise from Grigg for their efforts through the tournament, Zach Perry was perhaps the most impressive.
Perry went off from beyond the arc, hitting 15 3-pointers. Fourteen of those came against the Bears and the Bulldoggers.
“Zach Perry shot the ball really well,” Grigg said. “Against Wyandotte he was 7-of-10 from the 3-point line, and on Saturday against Dewey he was 7-of-12. He only scored 3 against Adair, but I think he only had four shots.”