By Ron Holt
Playing well enough during the regular season to serve as host for a regional basketball tournament is a goal of many high school teams each season. It’s an important step toward earning a trip to the state tournament, even with crowd restrictions because of the ongoing pandemic.
Bixby accomplished that goal this season, receiving recent notification that the sixth-ranked Lady Spartans will host a Class 6A East Regional in Whitey Ford Field House Feb. 25-27.
Edmond Memorial, ranked No. 11 with a 10-5 record, plays Broken Arrow in regional opener at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25. Bixby, 14-4 this season, plays nearby rival Jenks in the regional nightcap at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25.
The two winners play for the regional championship at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27. Both teams advance to Area Tournament play the following week at a site to be determined. The two Bixby regional teams advancing to Area play will compete against teams from Region One, which includes host Edmond North, Enid, Putnam City West and Muskogee.
“We are excited and proud to be hosting,” Bixby head coach Tina Thomas said. “The field includes Jenks (6-10), Edmond Memorial and Broken Arrow (6-7). Records can be deceiving … you always want your team to be at their best come playoffs.”
The Lady Spartans have been on a roll lately, winning six consecutive games. The Lady Spartans’ game at Sand Springs last Friday (Feb. 12) was cancelled because of the weather. Snowy, frigid weather conditions also victimized Bixby game at Owasso on Tuesday (Feb. 16) and could impact a regular season finale at Sapulpa (Feb. 19).
“I’m pleased with our team’s progress. This is a determined hardworking and resilient team,” Coach Thomas said. “They find a way to continue to compete and improve and do not seem deterred through all the obstacles thrown at them this year.
“Weather could be an issue, but this group of girls will overcome … and, other teams will be in the same boat,” she added.
This will be Bixby’s third meeting this season with Jenks’ Lady Trojans. The Lady Spartans won the season opener at Jenks, 62-40, and defeated the Lady Trojans, 66-24, in a Feb. 5 home game. Bixby also owns an 83-53 home floor victory over Broken Arrow.
The Lady Spartans haven’t played Edmond Memorial this season even though the Lady Bulldogs played in the Bixby Invitational earlier this season. Edmond Memorial is a quality team and had won nine of its last 12 games entering the final two regular season games this week.
Other East Regional hosts include Edmond North, Midwest City and Tulsa Union.