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Wrestling, basketball seasons start Tuesday

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Wrestling and basketball seasons offi cially begin this week for Kingfi sher High School teams.

The KHS wrestling squad will open the season Tuesday, Dec. 3, at home against Weatherford.

The dual will be held at the APB.

Junior high teams will begin at 6 p.m. and the high school dual will start at approximately 7 p.m.

The Jackets had two wrestlers qualify for state a season ago, but only one returns.

Senior Blake Neal qualified for the 182-pound bracket during last year’s junior season.

Kingfisher’s only other qualifier, Stone Snodgrass, was a senior.

The KHS basketball teams will be on the road in their season openers.

They play at Newcastle on Tuesday. The Lady Jackets tip off at 6:30 p.m. and the boys game will follow at approximately 8.

It will be the debut for new girls basketball coach Gerrett Spears, who was hired in April to replace Jay Wood.

Wood is now the KHS athletic director.

Spears takes over a team that reached the Class 4A area tournament, but graduated seven seniors.

The new-look Lady Jackets will also see the debut of newcomer Jenni Beebe, who signed last month to play at Oklahoma Baptist University.

Beebe was the Skeltur Conference Player of the Year as a sophomore and junior at Garber.

Hanna Matthews is Kingfisher’s top returnee from last year.

A three-year starter, Matthews was among the team leaders in scoring and assists last year.

Expectations remain high for the KHS boys basketball team.

For the second time in three years, Kingfi sher will be defending Class 4A state champs.

KHS went 28-1 last season and beat Heritage Hall 59-39 in the state title game.

Gone from that game and season are fi ve seniors, including starters Reece Lafferty, Trey Green and Jett Sternberger.

The two remaining starters, however, are a big reason for the remaining expectations.

Juniors Matthew Stone and Bijan Cortes will be starting for the third year and both currently hold multiple Division I offers.

Stone and Cortes are 56-2 in their careers thus far and have a state title and state runner-up fi nish on their résumés.

They’ll see their offensive workloads expand as will fellow junior Jarret Birdwell.

Head coach Jared Reese said as late as last Tuesday that he was still unsure who would be filling the fi nal two starting spots.

“We’ve got several guys who are capable of stepping in there,” he said. “And they all have their strengths where, even if they don’t start, they’re going to come up big for us certain nights this season.”

The KHS squads play at Chisholm on Dec. 10. They make their home debut Dec. 13 against Weatherford.