The biggest benefit of high school athletic conferences is for basketball scheduling purposes. So the newly formed Big 10 Conference is off to a good start.
Teams claiming 16 boys basketball state championships since 1998 are now in the same conference, which became official when Big 10 officials released the information to the media Tuesday morning.
Putnam City and Midwest City, which have four Class 6A titles each in the last 16 years — along with multiple runner-up finishes — are joined in the conference by Bishop McGuinness, which won seven 4A championships and the 2012 Class 5A title in that same span.
PC North, PC West, Del City, Choctaw, Enid, Lawton and Lawton Eisenhower are all a part of the conference, which has been in the works since the formation of the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference in mid-August. That conference included the schools from Edmond, Norman, Moore, Yukon, Mustang, Deer Creek and Stillwater.
The Big 10 Conference will begin play for the 2014-15 seasons.
BATTLE OF UNBEATENS SET FOR THURSDAY
Last season, Crooked Oak and John Marshall were a combined 4-17, but this is a different season.
Crooked Oak went 4-7 a year ago, sneaking into the playoffs, while John Marshall was winless.
But on Thursday night, the teams will meet at Star Spencer's Twidwell Stadium, each with an unbeaten record on the line.
Crooked Oak is coming off wins over Mount St. Mary and Frederick.
WARIBOKO-ALALI ADDS OFFERS, STILL COMMITTED TO OU
Casady offensive lineman Josh Wariboko-Alali is verbally committed to Oklahoma for the 2015 class, but he still picked up two more scholarship offers Sunday and Monday.
Wariboko-Alali said in text messages that Southern California offered on Sunday and Texas A&M offered on Monday.
However, Wariboko-Alali said he still remains committed to the Sooners.
"Well, I've loved USC for the longest of time, when I was young," he said via text message. "But I'm a Sooner!"
CENTRAL MARLOW'S HARRIS SCORES 9 TOUCHDOWNS
Central Marlow senior Kevin Harris put on quite the performance during Friday's 74-34 victory against Oklahoma Christian Academy.
Harris scored nine touchdowns and a two-point conversion, totaling 56 points on the night.
“I've never seen anything quite like it,” Central Marlow coach Keith Burton said. “Kevin is really something. He's quite talented.”
Harris carried the ball 20 times for 360 yards and six TDs. He also caught a TD pass, while returning both a kick and interception for a touchdown.
“He has good vision for one thing,” Burton said. “He has good agility and he's hard to tackle out in space.
“Our guys the other night did a good job blocking, getting bodies on bodies and creating some room for him.”
The scoring started early for Harris, as he took the first offensive play for the Bronchos (2-0, 1-0 District B-2) for a touchdown from near midfield.
He also scored right before halftime on a 45-yard run when Central Marlow was attempting to run out the clock.
“It's just one of those nights you're lucky if you get to see something like that,” Burton said, “We're thankful that we have him on our side.”
USA FOOTBALL AWARDS GRANTS TO OKLAHOMA PROGRAMS
USA Football has awarded grants to five Oklahoma youth and high school football programs.
The sport's national governing body annually distributes $1 million in equipment and uniform grants to programs across the country through the support of the NFL Foundation.
The group recently gave $80,000 in equipment and uniforms to a Moore youth league that lost its equipment in the May 20 tornado.
Included in the current selection of grant winners were high school programs at Douglass and Bluejacket, as well as the Owasso youth organization, Stillwater Youth Football and the East Tulsa Trojans youth organization.
The grants range between $1,000-$1,500 in equipment and uniform options for the programs to choose from.
MEMORIAL'S CATCHER COMMITS TO OSU
Edmond Memorial catcher Colin Simpson verbally committed to Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Simpson, a junior, turned down an offer from Arkansas to commit to the Cowboys.
“I think that's where he's always wanted to go,” Memorial coach Kyle Roberts said. “That's just one of those deals as a little kid you always say you want to play at this place. Oklahoma State has been there for him and with Coach (Josh) Holliday getting the job and turning the program in the direction that he has now has really been a selling point for Colin.”
Simpson is a strong defensive catcher with a 1.9 second throw time from home to second base. But it's his work ethic that stands out to Roberts.
“What really impresses me more than how talented the kid is, is his approach to the game,” he said. “We constantly try to get kids to play the game so hard, and he is such an example of what we try to get kids to do. What makes it even better is how talented he is, but still plays the game so hard.”
Simpson hit .531 with 18 doubles, seven home runs and 41 RBIs last season for the Bulldogs.
PIERCE WINS HEFNER SHOOTOUT
With a final-round 65 on Sunday, Edmond North senior Griffin Pierce won the OJGT Lake Hefner Shootout, played at Hefner's North course.
Pierce's two-day total of 133 was good for a four-stroke victory over Mason Overstreet of Laverne.
Kaitlin Milligan of Norman shot a 140 total to defeat Brinn Fariss by one stroke in the girls tournament.
Colter Baca of Edmond shot 140 to win the boys 12-14 age division.