Experience Carries White Oak into Saturday’s 2A State Title Repeat Opportunity
AUSTIN -- Anytime a team has "defending state champions" before its name, you can bet that team has experience. Ron Boyett's White Oak Roughnecks are no different.
White Oak's longtime coach leans on a trio of seniors to set the tone for the rest of the roster, which is more experienced than the classifications might suggest.
Point guard Kris Anderson, forward Levi Yancy, and shooting guard Skylar Sutton give Boyett a dependable threesome of seniors, Boyett said.
"I think you've got to give credit to these three guys. They make sure that everybody does pay attention," said Boyett during Friday morning's press conference following a 69-50 semifinal win against Winnie East Chambers. "They're all veterans. They've all played in big games in the past and they know what it takes to win. You have to hand that down and they do an excellent job of teaching that. I couldn't ask for three better kids to lead our team than these three that are sitting up here right now."
Regardless of the outcome, Saturday's game is the final contest in the high school careers of the aforementioned seniors, who have been White Oak's top three scorers this season. Sutton's 14.0 points per game entering the state tournament were tops on the team, followed by Yancy's 12.2 per game and Anderson's 11.9.
Yancy, who had 16 points, 15 rebounds, and six blocks in Friday's semifinal, said he's treating it exactly like preparing for the beginning of a season.
"I think the best way to appraoch it is just like offseason," said the 6-foot-7 shot-blocker. "There's always that one last day of offseason. You can either go in coasting that last 100 (meters) on the track, or you can go in with your ears pinned back and just finish strong, full speed."
Of the non-senior Roughnecks, six were on last year's state championship team, including shooting guard Slade Sutton, forward Hayden Nichols, and guard/forward Josh Benson, White Oak's next three leading scorers with 11.0, 10.7, and 7.8 points per game, respectively.
As well as White Oak shoots from the perimeter, defends the rim, and shows the ability to adjust to opponents' styles, Boyett believes his team's strength is something else.
"One good thing about our kids is when they do a really good job of paying attention. They listen and try to apply what we try to do, and for the most part this year they've gone out and they've executd well," Boyett said. "I think that's the strength of our team is how well that they do that."
Brock's 56-51 semifinal win against Idalou on Friday sets up a championship game rematch with the Roughnecks. White Oak played both teams at last year's state tournament, beating Idalou 67-45 in the semifinals and Brock 61-53 in the championship bout.
Boyett, who spoke to the media prior to Friday's Brock vs. Idalou game, said the familiarity with either opponent worked both ways.
"They're both pretty darn good. We have played both in the past so style of play, we know a little about that. They have the same advantage having played us," he said. "Whoever we end up playing we'll sit down this afternoon and try to figure out a plan."