Bartlesville girls off to 11-0 start
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
1/22/13 at 4:22 AM
Paige Wilson has seen a lot of positive changes in her four Bartlesville High varsity basketball seasons.
For one thing, she has more help now.
"We have other girls who can knock down the shot when I penetrate and pass the ball to them," the 5-foot-8 standout guard said.
For another thing, the Bruins are winning. Led by Wilson's 20.4 points per game, they're 11-0 and Class 6A's No. 3 team at okrankings.com.
Wilson and senior teammates Sierra Crow and Katie Keleher were part of 3-19 and 5-16 squads as freshmen and sophomores. Sixth-year head coach Terry Rogers took over a program that hadn't had a winning season since 2001.
Things changed last season when help arrived in the person of 6-foot-2 Hailey Tucker.
Tucker averaged 15.3 points and 6.3 rebounds as a freshman, helping the Bruins go 17-11 and capture the school's first girls regional title in 20 years.
She's up to 17 points per game as a sophomore and leads the Bruins in 3-point shooting (.409), rebounds, assists and blocked shots.
Tucker isn't the only younger player making a difference. Gabby Culver also started as a freshman last season, bringing help in the backcourt, and averages about one turnover per game as a sophomore.
Junior guard Olivia Culver, Gabby's sister, averages 6.6 points and 3.7 rebounds in her third year as a regular contributor.
Crow, averaging 5.6 points and 3.5 rebounds, rounds out the starting five.
What happened to change the culture? Rogers said he put new programs into place and Bartlesville's players have done the rest.
"The kids are devoting more of their time to basketball," he said. "We're doing a lot more things in the offseason, and they've just bought into the program," he said.
Nobody works harder than Wilson, who went over 1,000 career points while helping beat Jenks in last year's regional final, and is on pace to lead the Bruins in scoring for the fourth straight season.
"When she's not practicing with us, she's in the weight room, and when she's wanting to work on something, she and her dad go down to the Conoco-Phillips gym and they work on it," Rogers said.
Wilson had Division I recruiting nibbles, but decided early in the process on Drury University, a Division II school in Springfield, Mo.
"I had my mind made up that I wanted to sign in November so I could focus on my senior year, and when I visited Drury I fell in love with the place," she said.
Original Print Headline: B'ville girls off to 11-0 start
Mike Brown 918-581-8390