After every game, Edmond Santa Fe's Tamara Lee would get a report card from her father, Marcus.
“He'll say, you get an A-plus for blah, blah, blah and you get a C for defense,” Lee said of her reports early in the season.
Those grades took a dramatic upturn last week, though, as the junior helped Class 6A No. 1-ranked Santa Fe sweep through the Skiatook Invitational.
For her efforts, Lee is The Oklahoman's Girls Basketball Player of the Week after winning the tournament's Most Valuable Player honors.
“A-plus,” Lee said of her defensive grade the past few games. “It brings my confidence up to hear my dad and coach tell me that I've been playing good defense.”
The key to that defense is a change to her approach.
“She's keeping her man in front of her,” Santa Fe coach Paul Bass said. “She'd struggled a little bit on that. She's one of those girls that wants to steal everything, but she's doing a good job of keeping her man in front of her and picking her places to go after steals.”
That's been a difficult adjustment at times.
“It's a mental thing because if I go after every steal, it's going to be four-on-five and we're not in a good position,” Lee said. “So it's something I've had to work on.”
The Wolves play at Mustang on Tuesday before hosting Stillwater on Friday.
It's hard, though, for Santa Fe not to look forward to next Tuesday's game at home against Putnam City.
It was the Pirates that beat Santa Fe on Nov. 30, 59-58, snapping a Santa Fe winning streak that stretched to early February 2011.
“I'm so pumped up for that one,” Lee said. “Everybody keeps talking about it. We've used that as motivation.”
After that game, Bass entered a near-silent locker room.
“You could hear a pin drop in there,” Bass said. “I told them, ‘That's what losing sounds like. Do you want to hear that again?'
“We had a very strenuous and tough practice the next day. We had the defensive power, but they just didn't really give that effort in that game. Since then, there hasn't been a let-up, though.”