By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
The 2016-2017 high school basketball season is finally here as the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) has posted the official Week 1 rankings. Here's the breakdown on what to expect this season as well as our Editorial Board's picks for the week one games.
No. 1 Choctaw Yellowjackets
Choctaw finished last season 23-3, dropping two games to Midwest City and the State Quarterfinal to Owasso. They graduated a whole mess of starters last season, but retained their top two in University of Oklahoma signee Ana Llanusa and junior Bailey Golden. The Yellowjackets will kick off the season on the 29th against 5A No. 10 Del City.
The pick: Choctaw 66 Del City 54
No. 2 Edmond Santa Fe Wolves
The Lady Wolves went 22-6 last year, falling 58-46 to Muskogee in the State Tournament. All six of their losses were to top-ten teams and only one was by double-digits. They return a highly experienced team after graduating only two seniors and keeping four of their top five scorers. They start the season with Edlam against No. 11 Edmond Memorial.
The pick: ESF 47 EDM 44
No. 3 Deer Creek Antlers
Deer Creek went 20-8 last season with a 54-43 first round loss to Broken Arrow at State. They return a solid lineup behind senior East Central University signee Maddie Rehl and will take on No. 16 Mustang on the 29th.
The pick: DC 62 Mustang 54
No. 4 Putnam City West Patriots
Putnam West is coming off a a 19-7 season that saw losses only to ranked teams, six of which were top-ten. They graduated a few seniors, but retained top-scoring junior Ce'Nera Skanes to anchor a young and talented team. They will start the season off on the 29th against unranked Enid.
The pick: PCW 66 Enid 40
No. 5 Owasso Rams
The Lady Rams finished last year 22-8 as State Runners-Up, falling 45-40 to Midwest City. Their only losses were to ranked opponents and four of those were to top-five teams. They graduated several starters, including ORU freshman Rachel Skalnik. They held on to their top three scorers, however, all juniors, led by Arkansas-commit Mya Bhinhar. Bhinhar is recovering from off-season knee surgery, but is expected to make it back by their first game against No. 6 Bartlesville on December 2nd.
No. 6 Bartlesville Bruins
Bartlesville finished last season 10-14 but is a historically good program. They lose only one of their top five scorers and return a young team with several talented sophomores who saw action last year and will anchor the team for years to come. The Bruins will start the season on the 29th with No. 10 Sand Springs.
The pick: Bartlesville 50 Sand Springs 54
No. 7 Westmoore Jaguars
The Lady Jags ended last year 24-3, starting 9-0, and finishing 10-0 before their State Tournament first round loss to Midwest City. They were hit hard by graduation, losing three of their top five scorers, but retain a deep bench of talented youngsters. They start the season on the 29th against unranked Southmoore.
The pick: West 75 South 40
No. 8 Broken Arrow Tigers
The State Semi-Finalists from Broken Arrow finished last season 24-4. Their only losses were to State Champ Midwest City, State Runner-Up Owasso, No. 2 (at the time) Sapulpa, and No. 2 (at the time) Muskogee. They took heavy losses, graduating their top three scorers, and the next three scorers are seniors this year. The Lady Tigers will kick things off on December 2nd at 5A No. 12 Bishop Kelley.
No. 9 Midwest City Bombers
The defending State Champions graduated four of their top-five scorers, including University of Texas freshman Chinna Fair after their 25-4 season. The new class of ballers will be lead by senior Coriauna Burkhalter. Their season begins on the 29th against No. 19 Putnam City.
The pick: MWC 65 Putnam 60
No. 10 Sand Springs Sandites
The Lady Sandites are set up for their best shot at a State Tournament appearance in years after finishing 17-9 last season and only losing one senior. At one point they ran with an eight-game winning streak. Their season came to a close with a 58-42 loss to Owasso at Area. Led by Oklahoma State softball-commit Sydney Pennington and Ohio State volleyball-commit Gloria Mutiri, they run a deep bench with their second-straight freshman class of undefeated Conference Champions from the eighth-grade level.
No. 11 Edmond Memorial Bulldogs
The Lady Dogs finished last year 16-10 after a 60-50 loss to Putnam City at Area. All of their losses were to ranked opponents. They took heavy losses this season, but retain Sophomore Taylor Norman and junior Kendra Levings, both of whom have been known to do damage.
No. 12 Norman North Timberwolves
Norman North finished last season 12-14 and ending the season with a 64-60 loss to Putnam West at Area. They graduated a pair of starters, but return solid bones to build on. They will kick off the season on the 29th against No. 19 Edmond North.
The pick: NN 55 EDN 45
No. 13 Booker T. Washington Hornets
Booker T. finished last season 16-10 after a three-point loss to Sand Springs at Area. They only lost to ranked opponents and six of those losses were to top-five teams. They will kick off the season on the 29th at unranked 5A Edison.
The pick: BTW 70 Edison 30
No. 14 Sapulpa Chieftains
The Lady Chieftains finished last season 22-5, falling to Midwest City at Area. They're in for a rebuilding year after graduating their top three scorers, including two Division One commits. Their season starts December 6th at Jenks.
No. 15 Moore Lions
Moore ended last year 11-13 with four losses to unranked teams. They will start the season on the 29th against unranked Yukon.
The pick: Moore 55 Yukon 60
No. 16 Mustang Broncos
Mustang returns from a 13-11 season with a 59-50 Regional loss to Edmond Memorial after graduating two of their top six scorers. Seniors Logan Haller and Abby Niehus will anchor a young, but talented team that only lost to ranked opponents last season and went on an eight-game winning streak to close the regular season.
No. 17 Union Redskins
Union returns four of their top five scorers after a 8-16 season came to an end at the hands of Sand Springs at Regionals. Of their sixteen losses, only three were to unranked opponents. Their season begins on December 6th against Bartlesville.
No. 18 Putnam City North Panthers
Putnam North finished last season 15-11, falling to Midwest City at Area and return only one of their top-five scorers. They kick off the year on the 29th against 5A No. 20 Bishop McGuinness.
The pick: PCN 45 BM 40
No. 19 (tied) Edmond North Huskies
Edmond North ended last season 13-11, dropping off toward the end of the year and losing five of their last six games. They return a solid but young team.
No. 19 (tied) Putnam City Pirates
Putnam City ended the year 16-11 with only two losses to unranked teams. They went on a six-straight win streak toward the end of the year before finishing the regular season at Midwest City. They split wins at Regionals and Area to end the season with a 63-51 loss to Deer Creek. They lost their two highest scorers, but return junior Kelzie Orr to anchor the rebuilding year.