By SHAWN YORKS
• Daily Leader
TYRONE, Okla. — Both the girls and boys basketball teams at Tyrone School advanced out of districts last year but fell in the regional tournament.
This year, the Bobcats are hoping for a little more. And they’ve got the experience and skill level to do it.
Tyrone opens the 2010 season tonight at home against Hardesty.
“There’s three teams that I’m really concerned with this year,” said girls head coach Tisha Loomis. “I believe we can play with and beat everyone else.”
The difference is team speed, which makes a big difference in transition.
“We’re quick, Loomis said. “I don’t think there’s anybody on the team that is slow.”
That, and the Lady Bobcats have depth, which is something Tyrone has sometimes lacked. Loomis will dress 14 girls tonight.
“I haven’t even decided who’s starting,” Loomis said. “There’s about nine or 10 of them that I could start, easily.
“This year it’s really nice to have lots of depth.”
Loomis pointed to Hooker, Balko and Boise City as teams she’s most concerned about on the schedule. They are traditionally strong girls basketball teams, but Loomis thinks she’s put together a team that can contend.
“I have three returning starters and I’ve got three seniors,” Loomis said. “I have two freshmen that came in that are going to be a great help.”
Cassi Courkamp, Shayla Cornelson and Aspen Harvey are the three rerturners. Trista Jaramillo hurt her ankle at the end of last season, but is back full strength and will be Tyrone’s presence in the post.
Breanne DeLeon will step in at the point after Katie Lotspeich graduated, while sophomores Monica Olivas and Darian DeLeon will see a lot of playing time.
“We’ve got a move-in that’s a junior this year and I think is going to be a big help and that’s Christina Lopez,” Loomis said.
Lopez played at Tyrone before moving to Texas for her sophomore year. But she’s back in Tyrone and Loomis thinks she’ll make an immediate impact.
“She played for me in junior high,” Loomis said.
Tyrone boys coach Clay Witt is even more excited about his team’s chances this season. Just about everybody is back in the green and gold.
“We have quite a but of experience coming back,” Witt said. “We have five starters coming back and we’ve got four seniors that are really going to help lead the team.”
Like the girls, Tyrone’s boys team will have a lot of depth. Sixteen boys will suit up.
“That’s more than I’m used to dealing with,” Witt said. “We have the capability to have some depth this year so we’re looking forward to that.”
Returning starters are senior center Jacob Williams, senior forward Adan Lomas, sophomore shooting guard Austin Olivas, junior guard Travis Shield and senior point guard Tyler Lai.
Olivas was Tyrone’s leading scorer as a freshman last season.
The other senior on the Bobcats roster is Colter White, who is a key reserve for Tyrone.
“We like our chances to compete with anybody on our schedule this year,” Witt said. “We’re excited with all the experience we’ve got coming back.”
Tyrone got out of districts and advanced to regionals last year, which was a new experience for the Bobcats.
“We’re just hoping to build on that,” Witt said. “We really think we have a shot to win every game we’re in.”
Tyrone Bobcats Schedule
Nov. 19 — Hardesty
Nov. 22 — @ Goodwell
Nov. 23 — @ Felt
Dec. 3 — Boise City
Dec. 9-11 — Boise City Tourn.
Dec. 14 — Hooker
Dec. 17 — Goodwell
Jan. 4 — Balko
Jan. 7 — @ Yarbrough
Jan. 14 — @ Hardesty
Jan. 18 — @ Keyes
Jan. 20-22 — Texhoma Tourn.
Jan. 25 — @ Turpin
Jan. 28 — Keyes
Feb. 1 — @ Balko
Feb. 4 — Felt
Feb. 8 — Yarbrough