As a junior, Northeast's T'ona Edwards helped the Vikings to within one win of a state championship.
But as practices started and even early in the season, things weren't always smooth for Edwards and the Vikings, who entered the season as one of the favorites in Class 2A.
“Everybody kind of got off track, rather than focusing on what we needed to focus on,” Edwards said. “I wanted to be good so bad that I was getting carried away with some stuff — in the classroom and on the court.”
But in three days in late December, everything started to come together for Edwards, and the Vikings' success followed.
Those three wins at the Mid-Del Tournament — over 5A Del City, 6A Bixby and 6A Midwest City — helped propel the Vikings to the state championship and Edwards to earning Oklahoman Little All-City Player of the Year honors.
“I had a good tournament there and everybody started telling me then that if I played like that, we could win a championship and I could get a chance to play at the next level.
“I just took that and ran with it.”
One of Edwards' issues early was accepting the leadership role as a point guard.
Northeast coach Londaryl Perry, who starred as a point guard himself in college, struggled at times to get Edwards to accept that.
“I was trying to back away from the leadership part of it, but coach and my mom were saying I had to be some kind of leader,” Edwards said. “At the beginning of the year, I wasn't focused on the right things and talking to them helped me get that focus back.”
“It didn't mean she had to be the captain, but she had to be able to be some kind of a leader,” Perry said. “After we had a conference with her, her mother and dad and I, once she accepted that it was going to be my way and really just stepped back and listened and watched what I was trying to do, I saw a different person.
“I saw a different T'ona Edwards period, and that's not just basketball-related.”
The Vikings finished 30-0, beating several teams that were highly ranked in larger classes along the way.
She also got her chance to play in college. Edwards picked up an offer from Oklahoma earlier this month and committed to the Sooners.
“It was nerve-racking waiting until then,” Edwards said. “But when I got that call, it was a blessing. Every good Oklahoma kid, that's a dream to go 20 miles down the road and play for OU.”
For Perry, seeing the transformation that Edwards made from the preseason to getting the OU offer was one of his most rewarding times as a coach.
“Saying the word happy doesn't even begin to describe how you feel when you see a kid make such big changes in life,” Perry said. “She's has come out of her shell so much and to watch her accomplish what she accomplished has been incredible.”