By Jeff Harrison
The Midwest City girls basketball team is a talented bunch.
The Lady Bombers have a strong group of upper classmen that stepped into key roles last year. And some talented freshmen that are looking to do that same this season.
How far that talent goes, depends how quickly the team can blend the two.
“We have a mixture of seniors and younger girls and that can be tricky,” said coach Katie Tompson. “Our freshmen went 56-0 all three years at Monroney [Middle School] but there is a big difference between middle school and high school.”
The Lady Bombers expect to have three returning senior starters in Reneya Hopkins, Alexis Austin and McKenzie Patton. Hopkins led the team in about all statistical categories last year and has a chance to be even more dominant this year. Austin will be the team’s top post player and Patton one of the top outside shooters.
Freshmen Jaeda Ray and Kennidi Grant are expected to be major contributors this season. Ray will start at point guard, while Grant could see time as the team’s fifth starter or sixth man.
Tompson said Ray has shown the ability to the run the team’s offense, despite her age. Her brothers J.D. Ray and Juwan Walker both play on the varsity boys team.
Grant is an explosive scorer and solid defender who earned the nickname “Takeover” for her ability to control games. She has led the team in scoring in scrimmages this preseason.
“Kennidi (Grant) is a knockdown shoots, she can defend and she can finish offensively,” Tompson said.
Koreea Kirksey started at point guard last year, but will move to shooting guard.
Midwest City should be a contender in the Big 10 Conference again this season. Defending state champion Choctaw and Putnam City West are ranked 1 and 2 this week in the Class 6A girls coach’s poll, while the Lady Bombers sit at No. 14.
Lawton Eisenhower, a state tournament team last year, Bishop McGuinness and Del City are all ranked in the top 15 in 5A.
Tompson believes her team has the talent to get back to the state tournament. The key will be developing that talent and their offense, while continuing to play strong defense.
“We have the talent to get there, we just need to keep grinding and put the work in,” Tompson said.
Midwest City will begin their run tonight as they host Putnam City at 6 p.m.