Through seven games of the regular season, Yukon basketball has had to change.
At 2-5 the Millers are on the outside looking in, having played some of the Class 6A elite. Their losses have come to the tune of 76-43 to No. 5 ranked Edmond Memorial, 77-52 to No. 9 ranked Norman North, and 72-46 to Edmond Santa Fe.
“We knew to start off it was going to be a rough schedule,” coach Kevin Ritter said. “We got back to where we started playing some teams that weren’t highly ranked and we played a little better. It looked a little bit better because of that.”
Chickasha and Mustang fell victim to their two wins. The Millers came out victorious against the Fightin’ Chicks 46-27 and the Broncos 57-44.
“We had a pretty tough schedule this season, but I think things are going to get a lot better,” senior Carson Price said.
Yukon believes there are many reasons to feel the trend is pointing up.
Coming out of the break, the Millers had to play unranked Moore, their second opponent without a number attached to its name. After that, it’s a home game against No. 20 Southmoore. They’ll look to take small steps in beating lower-level teams.
“Those are the kinds of teams we need to work towards, someone who’s ranked and has a better record than us,” Ritter said. “If we can just put things together for a long period, I think we can. It’s just getting our guys to believe in the fact that we can do that against good teams is the biggest hurdle.”
Securing those wins is going to come a different way than they might have imagined before the season began.
Heading into the end of the first semester the Millers knew Price would need to be the one to lead the group. After having a stellar outing their first game against the Huskies, teams have honed-in on Price and limited his scoring production.
Taking away scoring has forced Price to be a facilitator. He’s fit in somewhat seamlessly as the Millers’ primary ball handler.
“He’s struggled a little bit with it just because it wasn’t the role he’s used to playing, but he does lead us in assists right now,” said Ritter. “He’s doing well at that, he’s just got to get where he’s not turning the ball over as much. He’s got more assists, but he’s leading us in turnovers at the same time.”
Price knows what he’s best at but has taken this new role to help the team.
“I’m more of a scorer but passing comes pretty easy,” he said.
Passing has gotten even easier with the help of Tyler Dechant and Desmon Elliot.
In the Millers’ final game before the holiday break against Mustang, they each posted a double-double with points and rebounds. The two seniors have found their comfort zone on the floor, which should help the offense flow better over the next two months of play.
“We’ve had to explain to him (Price), the more he gets (Dechant and Elliot) open, the more they score, the less they’ll be chasing him everywhere which will help him,” Ritter said.
Ritter knows the struggle of being the opposing team’s focal point.
“I tell him that through experience, I was in the same situation my senior year,” he said. “I got chased and hounded by other teams and my second semester my teammates had done enough to where that stopped everything started coming toward me. Hopefully that’s going to happen for him more in the second semester.”
A constant change throughout the first part of the season has been the switching of rotations. Players have moved in and out of lineups, causing disdain.
“We changed our rotation and, as a result, we have a few people that are no longer with us,” Ritter said. “They didn’t like the rotation.”
Despite losing athletes, Ritter believes the Millers are finding their way.
“I think we’re starting to find out who works where and what combinations work well together,” he said. “We changed a little bit of our who’s playing and who’s not playing and the difference of the team we’re playing too.”