Jenks to face Ponca City in first round of regionals
Jenks girls basketball will see a familiar foe in the first round of the regional tournament.
The Lady Trojans (10-12) will match up against Ponca City (18-5) Thursday at Norman for the first round of playoffs. The two teams met during the Jenks-Union Invitational Tournament where the Lady Wildcats won a narrow contest 51-45.
Both teams have changed since the initial meeting. Jenks now has another playmaker and scorer in Haley Meely and Ponca City has lost just one out of the nine games since they met.
“We are a little different having Haley Meely back,” coach Mike Acord said. “That’ll add some experience, some scoring, some ball handling, energy that we didn’t have. We played them fairly well the first time, we just didn’t get breaks at the end of the game. It was a good experience for us.”
The Lady Trojans will have their hands full playing a team with a contrasting play style.
Ponca City plays at their own pace, forcing the other team to adapt to their brand of basketball. What the Lady Wildcats’ defense takes away is exactly what the Jenks offense excels at.
“They play a slower tempo,” Acord said. “They try to crowd the lane and force you to take three point shots from the perimeter, take away your driving lanes. We’re a team that likes to drive in and create advantages that way.”
Although they know this, they aren’t going to be making any sweeping changes to their offense.
“We’re going to do what we do. We tell the girls often, it’s not who we play, it’s how we play. We’re going to try to not change things too much, keep it simple on offense and defensively, understand who we’re playing and what their strengths are but try to play to our strengths.
“Focus a little bit on taking their strengths away but not get overwhelmed about them and focus on ourselves most of all.”
Ponca City will be a tough out with their dynamic sister duo. Bailey and Ashlyn Fincher, daughters of head coach Jody Fincher, create a dangerous tandem on the floor.
Bailey, the oldest of the pair, is the team’s point guard. She’s a threat at every part of the game on offense. Ashlyn is a deadly shooter on the perimeter and is a reliable scorer.
It can be easy for many teams to focus primarily on the sisters, but if you get too caught up in that, someone else might take over the game.
“The one that’s kind of snuck up on most teams and us at times is Riley Beard, who is an X factor,” Acord said. “She’s that kid that’s a double-digit scorer. If you spend too much time focusing on the coach’s daughters, you’re leaving out a really good player. They’re a really good three-headed attack.”
Jenks doesn’t want to focus on the other team too much. They’d rather play their brand of basketball.
If the Lady Trojans can force Ponca City to play at a different pace, that could be the key to making it out of the first round.
“We want to pressure them, we want to get them in the up and down game. We feel like if it’s high scoring, it’s to our advantage. We want to play unselfish basketball with a lot of ball speed and ball movement. We want to share the ball, pass to the open player.
“Those are things we’ve stressed for four years, but especially this year with the group we have. We’re a very dynamic scoring team when we get the ball,” Acord said.
When: Thursday Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Norman High School
Who: Ponca City vs. Jenks
Other teams in the bracket: Norman, Enid