Class 2A basketball: Northeast keeps winning in what was supposed to be a down year

The Vikings have gone from a team featuring a Division I player in LaNesia Williams and four players who have never played basketball to a team one win from returning to the state tournament for a third straight year.
by Jacob Unruh Published: March 4, 2014

photo - Northeast’s LaNesia Williams, right, wins the battle under the basket with Jayna Hadwiger, left, and Bailey Forell during the Class 2A state championship game where the Lady Vikings defeated the Alva 53-36 on March 9, 2013, at the State Fair Arena. Williams, an OU signee, scored 30 points Tuesday night against Star Spencer. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman Archives
Northeast’s LaNesia Williams, right, wins the battle under the basket with Jayna Hadwiger, left, and Bailey Forell during the Class 2A state championship game where the Lady Vikings defeated the Alva 53-36 on March 9, 2013, at the State Fair Arena. Williams, an OU signee, scored 30 points Tuesday night against Star Spencer. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman Archives

Northeast coach Londaryl Perry might have been better off speaking a foreign language during early season games.

He certainly felt like he was.

“I remember our very, very first game,” Perry said. “I felt like no matter what play I called, no matter strategy I tried to do, I might as well have been talking Chinese. I’m serious, because it was shell-shock.”

Northeast went 30-0 last season and won the Class 2A girls championship, but this season was destined to be a down year with the departure of seven players.

Well, it was supposed to be a down year.

Instead, the Vikings have gone from a team featuring a Division I player in LaNesia Williams and four players who have never played basketball to a team one win from returning to the state tournament for a third straight year.

“I’m just really proud of us,” said Williams, who has signed with Oklahoma. “Throughout the whole year I’ve watched each and every one of them grow. It makes me really proud to know we’re one game away from state and I really feel like we can win.”

But getting to this point has been anything but easy.

Perry, who is in his third year at Northeast, has had to literally teach the game to his team.

That means fundamentals, even during Tuesday’s practice before the area tournament championship Thursday against Thomas.

That also means basketball class.

“Every day has been about learning and repetition on certain things,” Perry said. “Certain things you kinda gotta do on a day-to-day basis, but also trying to get them to understand so I’ve had an actual basketball class where I’ve taken them up into the room and let them (study) some of my plays I’ve drawn and stuff so they can understand the strategy of it.”

A 2-6 start to the year was frustrating, but Perry didn’t give up. After Christmas break, he started seeing improvement in a loss to Class 6A Bartlesville.

That, Perry said, was the turning point this season. The Vikings are 13-1 since that poor start and have won 12 straight, including Saturday’s 57-55 overtime upset of No. 2 Fairview.

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by Jacob Unruh
Reporter
Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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