The Cowboys have been there before, and they know what it takes to succeed.
After a state quarterfinals appearance last season, Kiowa boys basketball coach Keith Quaid wanted to refocus his group of players. Now, as the Cowboys face the postseason once again, he said his Cowboys know what they have to do.
“Our focus has been the playoffs,” Quaid said. “We’re just trying to improve every day.”
The Cowboys (19-6) have faced off with many tough opponents, and haven’t always been on the winning side. But Quaid thinks that having played talented competition only helps strengthen his team.
“I think the more battle-tested you are when you’re playing so many close games, it only helps you,” Quaid said. “You’re going to plays some really good teams in the playoffs, so those teams that are battle tested are usually ones that travel the furthest.”
The Cowboys will look to begin their playoff journey Saturday as they play host in the district tournament, and will face off with the winner of Friday night’s first-round game between Arkoma and Keota.
Quaid said his team will be prepared for whomever they face because the Cowboys have not just played high-caliber competition, but have improved on their own game all season long.
“We’ve improved on our defense, and in our overall offense execution,” Quaid said. “We’re trying to get the best shot every time instead of just the first available. We’ve got room to improve on both of those, we should be a tough out.”
The goal for the Cowboys is to once again make it to the state tournament. Quaid said he and his team weren’t satisfied with the outcome last season, and that has only fueled the drive heading into this year’s playoffs.
“We were disappointed with the way we played, so we’re hoping to get back there and just play well and we’ll see where it goes from there,” Quaid said.
But before they can step foot in Oklahoma City, Kiowa gets to play one last game on its home hardwood. And that’s something that Quaid said is special for his team, especially those that are seeing their last game at home in a black and gold uniform.
“It’s really great for my seniors. And anytime you get to host a playoff game, that’s even that more special,” Quaid said. “It’s going to be great for them and it’s great for our fans."
Here is a complete list of game times and dates:
DISTRICT 7 AT KINTA
Bokoshe vs. Midway, Feb. 14 8:00 p.m.
Winner vs. Kinta, Feb. 15 8:00 p.m.
DISTRICT 8 AT MOYERS
Pittsburg vs. Mill Creek, Feb. 14 8:00 p.m.
Winner vs. Moyers, Feb. 15 8:00 p.m.
DISTRICT 5 AT OKAY
Okay vs. Cave Springs, Feb. 14 8:00 p.m.
Winner vs. Stuart, Feb. 15 8:00 p.m.
DISTRICT 6 AT KIOWA
Arkoma vs. Keota, Feb. 14 8:00 p.m.
Winner vs. Kiowa, Feb. 15 8:00 p.m.
DISTRICT 8 AT CAMERON
Clayton vs. Cameron, Feb. 14 8:00 p.m.
Winner vs. Red Oak, Feb. 15 8:00 p.m.
DISTRICT 4 AT CROWDER
Indianola vs. Wetumka, Feb. 14 8:00 p.m.
Winner vs. Crowder, Feb. 15 8:00 p.m.
DISTRICT 5 AT QUINTON
Porum vs. Webbers Falls, Feb. 14 8:00 p.m.
Winner vs. Quinton, Feb. 15 8:00 p.m.
DISTRICT 8 AT ROFF
Haileyville vs. Strother, Feb. 14 8:00 p.m.
Winner vs. Roff, Feb. 15 8:00 p.m.