Katie Smith was impressed with her young team’s run at the 2022 Bank 7 Holiday Classic last week at the Mustang Event Center, especially in preparation and on the defensive end.
The No. 12 Mustang Broncos (5-6) battled their way to one win in the tournament – a 48-20 blowout over Clovis East (CA) – but the team’s fourth-year coach also recognized positives in losses to No. 18 Putnam City North and Class A No. 1 Seiling.
“We played really, really hard on defense,” Smith said. “That’s one thing I love about this team is they try hard and put in the effort on the defensive side. They did a good job of scouting and studying film and working on the IQ side, so they had an idea of what each opponent does.”
The Broncos held Seiling to its lowest scoring total of the season in a 47-43 loss in the first round of the tournament, holding the Wildcats to 38-percent shooting while forcing 15 turnovers.
Parker Simonsen (Jr.) led Mustang with 13 points and six rebounds while Lunden Foreman (Sr.) scored 10 with three boards. The Broncos shot over 40-percent from the field, but 21 turnovers played a factor in the outcome.
“Our biggest issue right now is controlling the ball on the offensive end and handling pressure,” Smith said. “We actually did really well against them and ran the game the whole time, but we turned it over too much and gave them too many extra opportunities.”
Lunden Foreman (Sr.) goes up for a shot during Mustang’s first-round loss to Class A No. 1 Seiling in the 2022 Bank 7 Holiday Classic at the Mustang Event Center. Foreman scored 30 points during the tournament. (Photo by Ron Lane / Lane Images)
Cherish Haywood (So.) and Mya Alston (Fr.) each chipped in six points in the loss. JahMonica Johnson (Jr.) and Christal Long (So.) each scored three while Camryn Engles (Jr.) scored two.
Engles also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and was a spark throughout the tournament.
“Camryn didn’t start for us at the beginning of the year, but did for us this week,” Smith said. “She worked hard with five offensive rebounds against Seiling. Sometimes it might not show on the stat sheet, but she really works hard and is a hustle player. She also has a high IQ and is very coachable.”
The Broncos bounced back in the first round of the consolation bracket, knocking off Clovis East, who traveled from California during the recent winter storm. The Timberwolves are coached by Garrette Mantle, who spent much of his career coaching in Oklahoma.
Foreman exploded for Mustang, leading all scorers with 18 points in the win. All of her points came on 6-for-10 shooting from three-point range, a performance the team has been looking for as of late.
“We’ve ben telling her to keep shooting and it will fall,” Smith said. “And it finally did against Clovis, which is nice to see because she has really worked hard to get back from an ACL tear. It’s good to get my Lunden back and it could be the breakout she needed.”
Simonsen added 10 points with four rebounds and four assists while Riley Trammell (Jr.) scored eight points with three boards. Haywood chipped in four points while Engles, Alston, Tionna Johnson (So.), and Avery Ragland (Fr.) each scored two.
The Broncos capped the tournament with a 38-34 loss to PC North.
Mustang shot 45-percent from the field, including 12 points in the fourth quarter, however, a tournament-high 22 turnovers plagued Smith’s squad.
Christal Long (So.) grabs a rebound during Mustang’s 38-34 loss to No. 18 Putnam City North in the consolation championship of the 2022 Bank 7 Holiday Classic last week at the Mustang Event Center. (Photo by Ron Lane / Lane Images)
“We’ll continue to work on it and get better in practice,” she said. “They ran a high pressure man-to-man and trapped, which is something they didn’t do the whole tournament. So, teams have an idea on that.
“But again, these girls work extremely hard and haven’t stopped or quit. They do everything we ask, but some things you just have to keep putting in the work and trusting the process. Another thing I love about this team is they don’t let losses affect them.”
Simonsen and Haywood each scored in double digits in the loss. Simonsen scored 12 points with four rebounds and two assists while Haywood scored 10 with two boards and two helpers. Alston chipped in five points while JahMonica Johnson scored. three. Foreman and Long each scored two points.
The Broncos are enjoying a nice break after playing 11 games in the first month of the season. They return to the court on Jan. 13 to host No. 20 Westmoore (4-4), giving the team a chance to relax and then get back to work.
“I’m excited to see the growth,” Smith said. “We had a few bumps in the road, but we thought it might be like that with so many games early and with such a young team. We’ll get some rest in and start working on the things we need to be ready for during the second semester.”
Smith was also excited to receive the team’s midterm report card last week. The Broncos have a combined 3.77 GPA and have seven players with a 4.0 or higher.
“We are huge about grades,” Smith said. “These girls do a great job of holding themselves accountable. It’s great to have players that focus on the court and in the classroom.”