Head coach Ray West has had some extremely good teams in his tenure at Okarche, but he can't remember one with this much size.
The Warriors have five players taller than 6-foot-3, led by 6-foot-5 Sam Grellner, who averaged 13 points and nine rebounds as a junior last season.
He and 6-foot-4 John Shaefer are the only returning starters from the state tournament last season, but West feels comfortable in his current lineup.
“This is the biggest we've ever been since I've been at Okarche, and that will make a difference for us,” West said. “I feel the guard we have back got a lot of experience. We have a good mix.
“We can put some different styles of teams on the floor and it gives us a versatility we haven't always had.”
West put together one of his toughest schedules as well, a factor he thinks will prepare his team for March.
“I feel like we'll be battle-tested by the time we get to the playoffs,” he said. “We may end up with a few losses, but we'll be better for it.”
FLEWALLEN RETURNING FOR DALE
Dale girls coach Josh Forsyth said he will work junior Jaelin Flewallen back into the lineup gradually after Flewallen missed all of last season following shoulder surgery.
“She's a really good player,” Forsyth said. “She's really talented, and we really could've used her last season, but we'll ease her in.”
The Lady Pirates came close to making the state tournament last season, falling to Tonkawa twice in the playoffs, including in the area consolation final. Both games went down to the wire.
“I think we have a great opportunity to be better than we were last year,” Forsyth said.
Among Dale's returners is senior forward Breck Clark. Clark averaged around 18 points and nine rebounds per game last season.
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