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Tough defense brings sense of optimism for Millerettes

The Yukon Millerette basketball team will kick off the season later this month. The team returns five starters from last year’s squad and will look to put defensive pressure on its opponents, said Coach Roy Wyckoff, who is beginning his third season at the helm. Photo / Terry Groover

Yukon girls basketball coach Roy Wyckoff is excited about what this year could hold for the Millerettes.
The team, which finished last year with a 6-17 record, returns five players who saw time on the court as starters.
The Millerettes lost just one senior last year in Sunny Middleton, and only has two seniors on this year’s squad.
The future, Wyckoff says, is looking bright for Yukon.
That future begins now.
The Millerettes already have had three tough scrimmages against some really good teams, including Okarche, which is always among the small-school favorites and a perennial state playoff team.
“Okarche is a really good small school. They are probably going to be a state tournament team in Class A. They are a good team,”Wyckoff said this week.
In the scrimmage, Wyckoff said he liked what he saw, especially from Yukon’s pressure defense.
“I felt like we dictated the pace. I was really pleased with the effort in that first scrimmage,” he said.
They also have faced Hydro-Eakley, which is picked to be the No. 1 team in Class A, as well as 6A’s Putnam City Original.
“I felt like we controlled the pace, sped the game up and pressured both of those teams a majority of the time,” he said.
And that’s the goal, to control the tempo and force the other team to work at Yukon’s pace.
“That’s what we want to do. We’re trying to pressure full court, speed them up so they can’t run their sets. We are so small, we don’t want to let them execute against us and take advantage of our lack of size,” Wyckoff said.
The one advantage the Millerettes do have is team speed. They are quick and nimble, he said.
Yukon also has faced Choctaw, which is a premier team in Class 6A, as well as Oklahoma City Storm, which is a group of home-school athletes.
Against Choctaw, the Millerettes won a quarter, lost a quarter and tied in one quarter, he said.
“Again, I felt like we established the pace, even against Choctaw,” he said.
Much of Yukon’s success will depend on how well the team works together. He said when they are on their game, they will be able to create issues for their opponents.
“I think our girls are learning that our effort and energy has to be better than everyone we play. But, if we do that, we can have some success,” Wyckoff said. “I think they are feeling that.”
Yukon’s offense will likely come from the perimeter.
In the first three scrimmages, Wyckoff said the Millerettes didn’t shoot the ball well, although they were taking good shots.
“I felt like we were patient and took the right shots. We just didn’t make them. And I felt like we chased down a lot of offensive rebounds. Again, I was pleased with the effort,” Wyckoff said.
His hope is that the shooting will improve as the girls get more time on the court.
“We need to hit them (shots) to get over hump. But I felt the way we were playing, decisions we were making was good. We need better ball movement, but we weren’t settling for shots,” he said.
While Yukon’s offense will miss Middleton, who was a strong inside presence for the Millerettes, Wyckoff does return five players with starting experience.
That includes 5-foot-11 senior Kristen Readel, who has offers to play at several colleges, and 5-foot-6 Jaylee Watson, who also is looking at playing college ball.
“They’ve both started or played significant minutes since their sophomore year.They are both coming into their senior year pretty excited about what we can do,” the coach said.
“They are doing a good job, their attitudes are great and they work really hard,” he said.
Wyckoff said that attitude has spread across the team.
“I feel like the energy from the bench and on the floor is really good right now. I feel like the girls who aren’t in the scrimmage, their energy and effort have been really good.”
Yukon was scheduled to return to action Saturday at a “super scrimmage” at Southmoore. The Millerettes were expected to face Midwest City, Tuttle and Sand Springs.
“It will be another test to see where we are at. To see what our defense does against teams with really good guards,” he said. “It will be a test for sure.”
Yukon will host its own scrimmage against Lawton Eisenhower and El Reno the following Saturday.

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