Millers Host No. 17 Deer Creek

Draws Norman North at McGuinness Classic

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By Chuck Reherman, Sports Editor – Yukon ended the 2017 portion of the basketball schedule of a tough note.
The start of 2018 doesn’t seem to get much better.
The Millers will host No. 18 ranked Edmond Deer Creek in their first game back from the break and then head to the 58th annual McGuinness Classic and Bishop McGuinness High School.
Deer Creek does come into the game looking to break a two-game losing skid. The Antlers lost to Edmond North 68-49 in their last outing and fell to Bixby 61-58 in the finals of the Bixby Tournament. Deer Creek did lost to Mustang 65-64 in the season opener and owns a pair of wins over Stillwater and a 68-61 win over Westmoore.
The Millers are 1-6 on the season, but have played everyone except one team close. YHS lost 57-52 to Edmond Memorial in their last game before the holiday break.
“I’m not sure anyone else will have played the No. 3,5,7,3,10 and 18 ranked teams in the state in their first 10 games,” Miller head coach Kevin Ritter said. “We are 60 to 90 seconds away from winning games. We played the No. 11 team to five and the No. 7 team to five. They are not going to want to play us in the playoffs of we keep getting better. We are getting closer. Our schedule didn’t set up well for us with a bunch of new guys. We get those wins coming and it will be a huge confidence builder for our guys.
“We are this close, that is what I told them after the Memorial game,” he said. “If you will stick with it, it is coming. I tell you it is coming, but we have to keep getting better. Memorial was ranked in the state.”
Deer Creek will be an other one of those teams that will be a challenge for the Millers.
And, YHS may not see them just once, but could also see them in the McGuinness Tournament since the teams are on the same side of the bracket.
“Deer Creek has a lot of guys that can shoot the ball and they are a drive and kick offense. They will press you and have several guys who played a lot of varsity minutes last season. They will be another tough team for us.
“They play very fast,” he added. “They are also on our side of the bracket so there is a chance we play them Tuesday and then Friday.”
The Millers will be looking to snap a four-game losing skid on Tuesday. YHS’ last two losses have been by a combined seven points.
The Millers turn around and faced a top 10 ranked team in the opening round of the McGuinness Tournament, facing No. 3 ranked Norman North for the second time this season.
YHS and NNHS will play the 3:30 p.m. game. Norman and Deer Creek are on the same side of the bracket and play at 2 p.m.
There are six Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference teams in the eight-team field. Edmond Santa Fe and Edmond Memorial are in the top half of the bracket with non conference teams McGuinness and Choctaw.
Choctaw and Memorial play at 2 p.m. and McGuinness and Santa Fe play in the 6 p.m. game.
The winner of the YHS-NNHS game will advance to the semifinals at 6 p.m. Friday against the Norman-Deer Creek winner. The losers will play at 2 p.m. Friday. The other semifinal game will be played at 7:30 p.m.
Championship Saturday starts at 2 p.m. with the seventh place game. The consolation finals will be played at 3:30 p.m. and the third place game is set for 6 p.m.
The championship game will be played at 7:30 p.m.
The Millers and Norman North have met once already this season, in the consolation finals of the Durant Lion Classic. North beat the Millers 62-50
“McGuinness is a very tough tournament and we will see several teams we already play,” Ritter said. “We start off with No. 3 team in the state and see if we can get multiple wins in this tournament.
“We didn’t have everyone in that (Durant) tournament with four seniors gone that game for various reasons,” he said. “Norman North was also missing Drake Stoops who is a good player for them.”
The Millers will also turn around and play Norman North for a third time this season just a week after the teams play in the tournament. YHS travels to Norman North for a COAC game on Jan. 12.
“That isn’t easy against anyone but it is even harder when they are the No. 3 team in the state,” Ritter said,
The Millers will spend the rest of January on the road as well. After Norman North, the Millers travel to Edmond Santa Fe on Jan. 16, then play in the Newcastle Tournament Jan. 18-20.
YHS heads to Stillwater on Jan. 26, then to Mustang on Jan. 30 and at Westmoore on Feb. 2 before returning home.