Mustang star Parker Simonsen found her reason why long before the 6A State Tournament

Basketball, Girls Basketball, Winter Sports

Trey Hunter

March 6, 2024
Parker Simonsen has been one of Mustang's top players this season, averaging over 10 points, three rebounds, and three assists during her senior campaign. Simonsen and the Broncos take on Edmond Memorial on Wednesday in the first round of the Class 6A State Tournament. (Photo by Shelly Holinsworth / Freelance Action Photography)

By Trey Hunter / Publisher

By Rebecka Pruitt / Contributor

There is a phrase written on the wall just inside the Mustang Bronco locker room which reads: “Mind on the goal, heart on the why.”

Parker Simonsen usually scribbles that motto on her wrist prior to each game, but before the semifinals of the Bank 7 Mustang Holiday Classic in December, the senior point guard wrote just two words instead.

“For momma.”

As she proceeded to record her first-ever double-double, including 28 points and 10 rebounds in a 74-67 win over the now three-time defending Class A state champion Seiling Wildcats, Simonsen continued to look into the Mustang Event Center stands.

Her biggest fans weren’t in their usual seats. They were at Mercy Hospital as Dawn, Parker’s mom, recovered from an emergency surgery to remove a cancerous mass from her colon. She had been readmitted after an unexpected setback from an earlier procedure.

Parker’s why.

“I wanted to put on a show for her,” Parker said. “She has been there for every single game, and I just didn’t think it was fair for her not to be there that night.”

Simonsen, a UCO-signee, wasn’t sure if she would even play the rest of the tournament. The decision was hers to make, although her parents urged her to take the court. She was at least greeted with some comfort as she met with her mom for their usual pregame ritual.

“She braided my hair like she does before every game,” Simonsen said. “I was glad I went to see her.”

After the Broncos advanced to the tournament championship, Parker sent her mom a quick text: “I did this for you momma.”

“That was her best game this year,” Dawn said. “And I wasn’t able to see it.”

Parker’s why.

Parker Simonsen (Sr.) has helped lead the Mustang Broncos to the Class 6A State Tournament, averaging over 10 points, three rebounds, and three steals this season. The UCO-signee is also one of the team’s top defensive players. (Photo by Ron Lane / Lane Images)

A few days at Mercy turned into another week. However, the family is happy to report a successful recovery and couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.

Mom and dad are back in the stands.

“Things got serious, fast,” Todd said. “Obviously you look at how much it’s affecting the person going through it, but as a parent, you also look at how it affects your children.”

Parker’s older brother, Gabe, is a former cross country and track star for MHS and currently runs for the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

“They were strong through it. Coming out on the other side, you wonder how you move forward. For us, it was the strength of our kids.”

Since Simonen’s double-double performance, the Broncos have established themselves as one of the best teams in the state. They cruised to a regional championship before capturing the Area Consolation title and punching their ticket to the 6A State Tournament this week in Norman.

Simonsen has been the team’s heartbeat offensively and defensively.

The 5-foot-6 point guard averages over 10 points, three rebounds, and three assists per game to go along with 24 steals and 25 deflections on the defensive end.

Mustang coach Katie Smith has watched Simonsen’s growth over the last four years and is thrilled with how she has become a coach on the court. Smith calls her a true floor general.

“Parker is the it-factor,” Smith said. “As a head coach that’s the best feeling when you have a senior guard that can lead your team like she does. She always cares about the team before herself.”


Simonsen had been eyeing her next-door neighbors’ basketball goal.

At six years old, anything with a ball caught her attention. But there was something different about hoops. Todd would look for his daughter, but she was nowhere to be found.

Until he peeked out the window.

“Parker would just disappear and would be shooting on that goal,” he said. “She would stay out there as long as she could, until we made her come inside. We eventually got to talking and put her on a team.”

The Simonsens put Parker in the Upward league at a local church. They quickly realized why their daughter was so obsessed.

“She was scoring like 30 points a game,” Todd said. “So, we decided we probably need to get her into an AAU program.”

Eventually Simonsen joined SWISH, an organization formerly run by Mustang Athletic Director Robert Foreman. She learned the game and worked on her craft, eventually leading to playing time as a freshman for the Broncos.

“It helped me grow my confidence and my love for the game,” Simonsen said.

She played off the ball as a sophomore but transitioned to point guard last season. Now, she is focused on continuing to take her game to the next level. But only if it makes the team better.

“Last year completely changed the way I played,” she said. “I think I have become more aggressive and less timid on both ends of the floor. My confidence is there with getting my teammates involved and creating plays for myself.

“It’s something I’m much more comfortable with.”


Each Sunday, Todd and Parker hit the court for a weekly routine that sometimes takes a few days for Todd to recover from.

Parker starts shooting and doesn’t stop until she reaches 400 makes. Todd rebounds and passes, sometimes chasing down the ball.

“We’ve done it from the get-go,” Todd said. “It’s not just a physical thing, it’s also a mental thing. If she’s missing for some reason, we change it up. Just to get her in the groove.”

“It helps to not think too much,” Parker said. “Just rely on the work.”

Parker Simsonsen (Sr.) helped lead the Mustang Broncos to the Class 6A State Tournament this season, averaging over 10 points, three rebounds, and three assists per game. (Photo by Trey Hunter)

Simonsen and the Broncos have put in their fair share of work and she says now it’s time to cash in. They take on the Edmond Memorial Bulldogs tonight in the first round of the 6A State Tournament at 7:30 p.m.

It will be the second time Simonsen has played in the state tournament. She hopes to build on the experience she gained during her first trip.

“It was awesome,” she said. “That team made everyone feel like a family and that’s what we’ve tried to do this year. We needed to be a family again.”

Simonsen relates to her own words in more ways than one. She is just glad she can look into the stands and once again see her biggest fans.

They’re her why.

Published by trey hunter

Trey Hunter is the owner and publisher of the Mustang Sports Review. He graduated from Mustang High School in 2006 before graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma with a journalism degree in 2011. He has covered Mustang sports for multiple publications as well as high school sports and professional basketball for other outlets. Contact Trey for story ideas or reach out with information. PHONE: (405) 659-9898 EMAIL:

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