DURANT, OK -- There's a totally different mindset and confidence in Durant this year after the boys basketball team finished the first half of their season with an impressive win column. Now the focus is shifting toward a successful 2013 and a solid seed come playoffs.
The holidays weren't easy for the lions, who would fall into a four game losing streak. But they'd correct their errors, play hard on both ends of the floor and pull off a double-digit win on the road in Atoka Tuesday night.
Thursday starts a three day tournament in Ada against some of the top teams in the state. The name of the game for the weekend is consistency, something the team has keyed in on for the rest of the season.
Consistency translates into playoff wins, and if it can be established Thursday against Class 6A power Stillwater, the Lions could be groomed for a memorable winter.
"Honestly these are just going to be a lot of respect games," said junior forward Will Engle. "A lot of teams still don't rank us high because of our season last year and they think certain things are flukes, or whatever the want to call them. If we get a big win against Stillwater, that will probably shut them up and even just playing them, I think if we keep it all close we'll earn some respect and then just keep on building until playoffs."
"It would feel good to win the whole thing. We got the number one team and if we win that we'll earn a lot of respect," junior forward Zac Cater added.
"Win the tournament," head coach Jason Wilkerson said. "I mean, you don't get in a tournament for any other reason, you want to go out there and win it. We got a great opportunity to play one of the best teams in the state right off the bat and some people might frown on that but I think it's great."
The Lions will tip against Stillwater at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.