DeShazo deepens leadership conversation with OBU athletics

 Courtesy Photo/ The Bison Kevin DeSazo 

 Payne Moses

Assistant Sports Editor 

Monday Oct. 19 keynote speaker, author and consultant Kevin DeShazo spoke in front of all Oklahoma Baptist University athletes.

DeShazo is a current resident of Oklahoma City and is married to his wife Megan with three boys Gabe, Noah and Asher, according to his personal webpage deshazo.me. 

For the past nine years, DeShazo has spoken to universities and professional sports organizations about how “to create championship culture,” per DeShazo.

Partnering with Culture Wins, a division of GiANT Worldwide, DeShazo directs his messages to athletic programs specifically on how to curate social media to amplify their institution in addition to instructing athletes and coaches on how to develop into leaders.

In his keynote speech to the OBU athletes Monday, DeShazo based all of his topical points on his most recent book entitled “Keep Chopping Wood,” which was published May 19, 2020.

A short synopsis of the book states: “Keep Chopping Wood is a short story and field guide about what it takes for ordinary people to live extraordinary lives” (per amazon.com). 

While DeShazo only touched directly on his newly published book in the initial stages of his message, his beginning analogy of chopping wood is worth noting.

“If you don’t put wood in your fireplace that was chopped that day, it’s not useful, it’s not ready, it’s not prepared,” DeShazo said. 

“That wood is wet, so you throw it in your fireplace and it’s just going to flare your house with smoke. The fire could potentially just burn your house down because it wasn’t ready. It wasn’t prepared to do what it was made to do.”

By utilizing this analogical comparison, DeShazo related it to how athletes respond to pressure situations, prepared or lacking so.

“In a pressure-packed situation, you don’t head into those moments to not be useful,” DeShazo said.

“You don’t play into those moments like ‘Man, I wish I would have done the work.’ So, do you have the kind of mindset to show up today and do the work, when nobody’s watching, when its inconvenient?”

Through the speech holistically, DeShazo hammered the fact of living life not to stay in the comfortable, the convenient, but instead to strive in uncomfortable and purpose-driven living.

In this way, DeShazo pinpointed having a vision and belief as the most important aspect of an athletes’ reason for competing.

“That’s where a lot of people are, right,” he said.

“They’re really frustrated with where they are in life, but they have no vision for where they want to be. So, all they know is they’re frustrated, but they don’t know why because they have nothing that they are striving for, nothing that they’re running toward. It’s in the ratio to drive you toward that vision, ‘I want to run a marathon’ but I can’t right now. That’s okay because I have a vision to be a marathon runner.”

However, DeShazo rightly provided the understanding that many people are overwhelmed by such large visions and hoped to dispel such concerns by consoling words.

“I’m not being overwhelmed by the bigness of the vision, by the bigness of the goal,” he said.

 “I’m just doing the natural next step. And the key factor, you need to have allies walk alongside you. It’s really hard to get better alone. You have to have people who are committed to the same standard that you are committed to.”

More than merely breaking visions into daily goals, DeShazo spoke to how dealing with our internal mindsets is the simplest, yet hardest barrier to overcome.

“There’s one thing we can control: you,” he said. “There a billion things you can’t control, but focus on the one thing, the one thing you can control is you and your perspective. Your perspective determines your reality. Nothing is good about a bad experience, except for how you find it. You lose a game, you get down, you get overwhelmed, you get negative, you take yourself out of it. You can say ‘Hey, we didn’t do our best, but here’s what I can do to grow’.” 

Whereas DeShazo stressed this concept of owning your inner mindset, he then revisited the idea of reaching a vision with teammates, however with habits as the focus.

“If you want better habits, create a group of people around you that embrace and embody those habits and hold each other accountable for those habits,” he said.

“That’s why I talk about if you show me your friends, I’ll show you your future. If the people you’re closest to aren’t committed to the same standards as you are, you are always going to fall back to them. It’s really hard to pull the people behind you. But if you want better habits, you have to have a better culture period.”

Having just introduced culture, DeShazo explained how leaders, either team captains or otherwise, have the greatest influence on their team atmosphere.

“Leaders define culture,” he said. “If you want a better organization, if you want better teams, you got to have better leaders. Leaders define culture. If you are leader and you are in this room, you are a leader. Not your coach, not a professor, it’s not the A.D. You are the leader. If you don’t like the culture on your team, look at your leadership.”

In his closing minutes, DeShazo investigated how the model of belief is like the glue that holds leadership, culture and habits together. He especially made his message clear by using an unmistakably familiar biblical story.

“Peter commanded,” DeShazo said. “Peter is us. He [Jesus] says ‘Walk out’ and he [Peter] starts walking on water. Man walking on water, man walking on water because of belief. They looked around and saw the waves, and as soon as he saw that, the belief sank, and he sank. You either rise to your level of belief or fall to level of your unbelief. Belief drives behavior.”

Maintaining a spiritually driven final statement, DeShazo left OBU athletes encouraged in knowing why belief truly matters based on Jesus’ ministry.

“You weren’t made average, you weren’t made mediocre,” he said. “You were made on purpose and for a purpose. When you wake up into that, and believe that, things change. The crazy thing in the Bible it says you have to believe it’s going to be better for you spiritually, and that means you’re going to do greater things than I [Jesus] did. I have no clue what that means, but I can’t fathom that we’re going to do greater things than He did. That means we have power and authority if you believe you were made for that.”

OBU first football scrimmage

Courtesy Photo/obubison.com

Devin Miller

Sports Editor 

The Oklahoma Baptist University Football team will be playing in an intersquad scrimmage on Thursday, November 5, 2020.

The intersquad scrimmage will take place at the OBU Crain Family Stadium at the Hurt Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

The game will have free admission, but will have a maximum capacity of 1,000 spectators.

The wearing of face masks will be required for entry and must be worn throughout the game as well.

Social distancing and the use of hand sanatizer stations is heavily encouraged, while in attendance.

If you are unable to attend on Thursday night, there will be a livestream of this scrimmage, courtesy of obubison.com.

The famous trio representing the livestream broadcast will include; John Brooks, Todd Miller, and Scott Wanish. The livestream will also be run with the help of James Hill and Andrew Cox.

Prior to the intersquad scrimmage, the seniors will be recognized while they will now play in their final matchup for OBU’s football program.

According to the OBU Bison Athletics page, “The game will feature two 15-minute halves with the clock running like a typical game. It will be an offense versus defense game with a special points system for certain outcomes per possession.”

Game details found on obubison.com include; “All fans will enter through Gate 2 on the E side of the Hurt Complex.

Capacity limited to first 1,000 fans.

Masks required.

Fans will be screened (screening questions and temperature check) prior to entry.

Social distancing protocols within the facility are strongly encouraged.

Parking will be available in the Gold Lot S of the Hurt Complex on University, as well as E of the Noble Complex.”

Looking back on last season, the OBU Football team went 7-4. 

“OBU is led by head coach Chris Jensen, who enters his eighth season as the leader of the football program. The Bison are coming off their most successful season since joining NCAA Division II and the Great American Conference, going undefeated against their GAC rivals from the state of Oklahoma for the second straight year and finishing with a 7-4 overall record in 2019.”

Head Coach Chris Jensen was hired in 2012 and has led the OBU Bison football team to a 5-0 second straight record over schools in Oklahoma.

Throughout the past seven years, Jensen has completed a 30-47 record (.390), with an additional conference record of 18-37 (.327).

A day in the life of a student athlete

 File Photo/ The Bison

OBU Women’s Lacrosse Team 

 Shay Morgan

Assistant Sports Editor

COVID-19 has been around since the beginning of 2020, and many have started to adjust to the new way of living that has become the norm. 

Changes have been made since the beginning of the semester in terms of COVID protocol, which has been beneficial to the sports teams on campus. 

Contact sports are now able to practice in full contact, and masks are only limited to those moments of contact, not for entire practices. 

Women’s lacrosse has seen some relief with the loosening of restrictions around COVID. 

The women are now able to get back to their normal, full-contact practices and they can breathe a little easier without the constant requirement to wear a mask. 

Although lacrosse is an outdoor sport, the amount of contact that the women utilize each day in practice, and eventually in games makes COVID a daunting threat to these women. 

“COVID effects lacrosse specifically because we are a high risk for transmission sport. We are going to have to get tested 72 hours prior to every competition, which is good to give us all a peace of mind, but isn’t going to be very fun,” said senior nursing major and lacrosse goalie Olivia Ward. 

The reality of wearing masks for lacrosse players is that it has had implications on the players periphery, and breathing ability, with lacrosse being a high cardio sport. 

Lacrosse players wear eye protection gear such as goggles or helmets, as well as a mouthguard. 

“As an athlete we now have had to wear masks while lifting and running and during practice outside. It messes you up mentally but also makes it difficult to enjoy the sport I’ve always loved,” said Ward. 

The addition of a mask to all of the business on their faces initially is a hard adjustment. The mask also blocks the athlete’s downward periphery, similar to what many other athletes have experienced. 

Practices are now the best form of team bonding that athletes can get due to COVID, and even then, social distancing is enforced whenever possible.

“It stops those team events. No dinners. No movies. I feel like it has been a lot harder to bond with my team than in years past,” said Ward. 

Sports teams rely on forming a bond between teammates, and COVID has prevented that from happening. 

The pressure of school, sports and COVID do not have much to relieve them, like socializing or going out to do fun things. 

Even though COVID has become more normal to society every day, it still takes a mental toll on people, especially those under a large amount of stress, like student athletes. 

“I’ve had to learn to be more independent and how to deal with feeling alone,” said Ward. 

Through all of the madness and uncertainty of COVID, it is important to stay in touch with loved ones, and make sure that those you care about are doing well throughout this pandemic. 

“I just want everyone to continue to stay safe and healthy and remind them to reach out to someone if they are struggling. I know how rough it is, for athletes and non-athletes, but reaching out can really help,” said Ward. 

There are many resources on campus, such as the MFT Kemp Clinic, as well as trusted individuals, whether they be friends or superiors. 

“Don’t be afraid to talk to professors or coaches about how you really are because they can make a huge impact,” said Ward.

To keep up with the lacrosse team’s season and calendar, go to obubison.com to find their schedule, roster and statistics.

OU vs. Texas Red River Rivalry

 Courtesy Photo/ Tulsaworld

 Devin Miller

Sports Editor 

The Oklahoma Sooners (OU) took on the Texas Longhorns on Saturday, October 10, 2020.

Kickoff started at 11 a.m when OU won the coin toss and brought out their offense.

Redshirt Freshman Spencer Rattler Quarterback #7 started the first drive with a pass to Redshirt sophomore Drake Stoops Wide Receiver (WR)#12.

After a punt return, Texas starts their first drive with a first down, leading to a 2nd and 6 fumble by Junior Keaontay Ingram running back (RB) #26, picked up by Redshirt junior Isaiah Thomas Defensive Lineman (DL) #95, for the first turnover of the game.

With 12:27 left in the first quarter, Spencer receives the snap from Redshirt junior Creed Humphrey Offensive Lineman (OL) #56, junior T.J. Pledger Runningback (RB) #5 grabs the ball and runs up the left sideline on 1st and 10 gaining 20 yards.

This drive led to Redshirt sophomore Gabe Brkic Kicker (K) #47 putting OU on the scoreboard with a field goal making the score 3-0 OU with 9:34 left in the first quarter.

Texas calls for a touchback after a deep kick from Brkic. 

Senior Sam Ehlinger Quarterback (QB) #11 receives the snap looking for a pass to sophomore Joshua Moore Wide Receiver (WR) #6.

Senior Tre Brown Centerback (CB) #6 sweeps in front of Moore picking off the pass from Ehlingher for back to back turnovers.

3rd and 6 Ehlinger looks deep for Moore but the pass is broken up by both junior Delarrin Turner-Yell Safety (S) #32 and sophomore Jaden Davis Cornerback (CB) #4.

On 4th and 6 Freshman Marvin Mims Wide Receiver (WR) #17 is deep to receive the punt from Junior Ryan Bujcevski Punter (P) #8.

The ball bounces back up to the 40-yard line after a short punt for great field positioning for the Sooners.

With 8:20 left in the first quarter, Rattler and his offense sets up for a 1st and 10 handing the ball off to Redshirt Freshman Marcus Major Running Back (RB) #24, running the ball up to the left, giving Major a gain of 21 yards.

2nd and 11 Rattler receives the snap from Humphrey, scrambles and sees Mims down field, throwing across his body.

Mims wide open trotting in for the first touchdown of the Red River Rivalry.

During this scoring drive Mims managed to pick up 60 yards in 4 plays in only 1:33 with a 30 yard receiving touchdown.

After several attempts on getting there way down the field the pass from Ehlinger to Moore was broken up by Redshirt freshmen Woodi Washington Safety (S) #0, leading to 3rd and 10 for Texas. 

4th and 15 Bujcevski receives the snap and punts the ball down the field, Mims ready to receive the ball bouncing back inside the 5-yard line. 

3:38 left in the first quarter Sooners offense comes back out onto the field leading 10-0.

With 3:40 left in the second quarter, 3rd and 5 Redshirt sophomore Tanner Mordecai Quarterback (QB) #15, receives the snap and passes to Redshirt junior Charleston Rambo Wide Receiver (WR) #14 with an “unbelievable catch with the ball that never touches the ground.”

The Sooner and Longhorns are tied 17-17 with 1:14 left in the first half.

Texas has possession at 2nd and 2, Ehlinger receives the snap and goes nowhere under pressure getting sacked from Redshirt Senior Jon-Michael Terry Offense Linebacker (OLB) #40.

Starting the 2nd half, Brkic kicks off into the back of the end zone.

Ehlinger receives the snap for 2nd down and gets sacked for the fourth time during the game, by sophomore David Ugwoegbu Linebacker (LB) #2.

After getting blocked in the first half by Brown on the Sooners, Longhorns punter Bujcevski gets ready for the snap for 4th and 1.

With 9:15 left in the third quarter, the Sooners lead 24-17. 

5:06 left in the third quarter the Sooners convert from 3rd and 7 with a snap from Humphrey to Rattler, passing to Sophomore Theo Wease Wide Receiver (WR) #10 for the 1st and 10.

Rattler takes the direct snap from Humphrey, finding the open hole through his Offensive line running inside the 15-yard line for the first down.

1st and goal, Rattler takes the direct snap, handing the ball off to Pledger for another Sooners touchdown, making the score 31-17 after the extra point made by Brkic.

Early in the fourth quarter, Ehlinger rolls left out of the pocket looking for a receiver and has no luck, getting sacked once again by Sooners defense.

With 10:59 left in the fourth quarter, Rattler gets the snap handing the ball off to Pledger, finding the open hold up the middle breaking free through the Longhorns defense, gaining the 1st down.

Shortly after Rattler fakes out the Longhorns defense and takes the left side of the field gaining another first down for the Sooners offense.

 At the end of the course quarter, the Sooners and Longhorns are tied 31-31.

After going back and forth for four overtime periods.

The Oklahoma Sooners take the win back to Norman, Oklahoma with them 53-45.

This was a “A Red River Showdown for the ages.”

Pandemic inspires broadcaster to create “Todd Talks”

 Payne Moses

Assistant Sports Editor 

Todd Miller, a play-by-play radio broadcaster for Oklahoma Baptist University since 2015, has lived amidst his passion: sports.

A native of Blackwell, Oklahoma, Miller attended Blackwell High School and currently resides in Oklahoma City. 

Beginning radio broadcasting at the end of his high school tenure, Miller has 30 years of experience in play-by-play announcing and freelance work.

Miller highlighted the fact that he began his career in his junior year at Blackwell High School.

“I’ve been really lucky,” Miller said. 

“I started at my hometown radio station in Blackwell, Oklahoma in high school, and they gave me a lot of opportunities not a lot of young, inexperienced people get. I started doing color work for their high school football broadcast. I did some play-by-play, and to be honest with you, it was woeful. But that’s kind of how I got my start.”

After high school, Miller went to Northern Oklahoma College-Tonkawa and then transferred to Northwestern Oklahoma State for his remaining two years. 

He graduated in 1992 from Northwestern Oklahoma State with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications.

While at NWOSU, Miller described the job position he earned and how it turned into a long career in Alva, Oklahoma.

“I was a sports director at KALV which is a radio station in Alva,” Miller said. 

“I did out of high school; I did Northwestern play-by-play. I did the high school and college 20 years combined, and then I did another year with the Rangers, and that’s when my wife and I moved to Oklahoma City.”

When the year 2015 rolled around, Miller found his place at OBU as a radio broadcaster for basketball, baseball, softball and then the following year was asked to cover football.

“I was brought to OBU in part because of the former sports information director Ray Fink,” Miller said. 

“He and I had a long working relationship when I was, at the time, at a fellow conference school when both were in the NAIA, Northwestern Oklahoma State University. So, through Ray I made some connections.”

Miller then discussed how important OBU’s addition of football was for the greater community.

“I thoroughly enjoy doing OBU football,” Miller said. 

“I think it’s something of a gathering point for the campus and the community. I think it was a great decision by Oklahoma Baptist to reinstate football. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with the football program and I’m hoping, sooner rather than later, we’ll get to get back together and enjoy some Bison gridiron.”

In the past, Miller was in charge of conducting one-on-one interviews with coaches and some players at OBU, but with the COVID-19 pandemic another strategy had to be used. 

Staying in contact with assistant athletic director James Hill, Miller was asked to keep the OBU community in the know by an alternative medium: “Todd Talks.”

“During this pandemic, you have to keep things fresh, you have to keep your out there,” Miller said. 

“I think this [“Todd Talks”] was one way they felt they [OBU athletics] could do that. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it because I’ve interviewed all of the coaches, many of which I have never interviewed before. I found it delightful to get to know people I don’t work with on a seasonal basis. They all have great stories.”

“Todd Talks” only began back in May 2020, but Miller speaks to how the Zoom-driven program has grown significantly in a short period of time.

“It started out as this little thing, I think, to promote programs, to keep programs in the limelight,” Miller said. 

“I think it’s something that has grown now to where you can reconnect with a lot of people. I hope that [“Todd Talks”] has enabled the fanbase at OBU to engage with other sports that maybe they don’t necessarily think a lot about.”

Other than being involved in “Todd Talks” the past few months, Miller also gave an update on how he has tried to stay working at a time where many in the United States have lost their jobs.

“I’m doing some freelance work for an online streaming app called Skordle,” Miller said. 

“I’ve done a couple of games for them. I did the All-State game for Skordle that was hosted at OBU. They’ve been very, very kind to throw some work my way because man, it’s tough for people in our industry. If sports is what you do for a living, there’s no sports for you to go out and call,” he said.

“So, I’ve been fortunate with some friends of mine through Skordle. It’s not like working full-time for OBU and going from one sport to the next, but I’ve enjoyed getting back into the high school game, which I haven’t covered in quite some time.”

Though Miller has never had to remotely broadcast a sports game, he recognizes the switch to remote sports broadcasting as an inevitable trend.

“The way I call a game, I feed off the emotion of what’s going on right in front of me,” Miller said. 

“To me [sports broadcasting] is a little bit de-sanitized when you’re sitting there looking one-on-one at a picture and trying to call a game. So, it’s going to be difficult. I hope it’s not going to be a trend that continues, but I’m afraid that maybe someday it will be at higher levels of broadcasting.”

Miller, having spoken to a great level of appreciation for the opportunities provided to him in radio broadcasting at such a young age, contributes the best advice he can give someone who is pursuing a career in broadcast.

“If you’re getting into business, learn as many different things as you possibly can to make yourself as attractive to an employer as possible,” Miller said. 

“You may not like a certain sport, but you need to learn how to cover it. You need to be as diversified as you can. The other is you just not going to make everybody happy, you can’t please everybody.”

Racking up some 34 years of radio broadcasting and freelance, Miller shared some of his greatest memories. He recounted calling play-by-play in Northwestern Oklahoma State’s men’s basketball first round win against Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the 1992 national championship. 

 It had been their first championship berth since 1947. In his OBU career, the stand-out broadcasts came from just this previous spring semester.

“I think the run last year, to be honest with you, with our men’s basketball team was really, really special,” Miller said. 

“I thought all along that team had a chance to be really good, but you never know because the league is so good. And then to put the run together that we had put together in Bartlesville, where we probably shot our best two field goal percentage games back-to-back to get to the finals,” he said.

 “That was special to be there [GAC conference final] for the first time.”

Besides the fact that “Todd Talks” have grown in popularity and have covered coaches and topics such as recruiting, Miller suggests a near future possibility.

“Now that student-athletes are back on campus, maybe at some point we need to start talking to student-athletes,” Miller said. 

 Besides the fact that “Todd Talks” have grown in popularity and have covered coaches and topics such as recruiting, Miller suggests a near future possibility.

“Now that student-athletes are back on campus, maybe at some point we need to start talking to student-athletes,” Miller said. 

“You could probably try to get ahold of some past OBU greats and start some type of series like that. There’s just a lot of different things from what the initial intent was of this series.”

A day in the life of a student athlete during a pandemic

Courtesy Photo/ Bison Athletics 
Trajan Lands Journalism Mass Communications Media Major/ OBU Football (Safety) 

 Shay Morgan 

Assistant Sports Editor 

The life of a collegiate student athlete can be long, busy, strenuous and tiring. 

Many go from practice, to classes, to practice again each and every day. 

This is all while managing sleep, a healthy diet and a social life. 

COVID-19 has had a major impact on the world, and the daily lives of most have been drastically changed. 

Student athletes have taken a unique and challenging hit due to COVID, altering their normal to a new routine that accommodates masks and social distancing. 

Each sport has experienced a different impact due to the pandemic. 

Junior Journalism Mass Communications Media major and OBU Football Safety, Trajan Lands, gives an in depth look at the changes made in a football players life due to COVID. 

On a normal day before COVID, football player’s days consisted of morning workouts, classes, team meetings or film, and practice in the afternoon. 

While this is still the routine for the men, COVID has impacted how these events are carried out. 

“During COVID, we are more careful and with masks and social distancing, practices are more mental. Focusing can be much harder,” said Lands. 

Football, being a contact sport, has had to limit their physical contact in practice. 

“It takes away the physicality that comes with the game, such as tackling and hitting. Being in a huddle trying to learn or hear the play is made much harder being spaced out, and with something covering our mouths,” Lands said. 

The technicalities of the sport of football have to be changed to accommodate the virus. 

While many sports simply wear masks during practice, football is allowed to wear face shields that go on their helmets instead of a mask. 

This is unique in comparison to other sports without headgear, allowing for a slightly easier time breathing during cardio. 

Once the helmets are off however, the players must put on a face mask. 

Lands pointed out that COVID has had impacts on the lives of student athletes away from the field as well. 

Many sports teams bond through spending time together outside of practices, and with COVID, team bonding has been very difficult. 

“COVID took away our fall camp where we have time to bond as a team, and there is less hanging with my friends watching film together. 

“We just have to be more careful instead of being together,” stated Lands. 

Although there are many downsides to the effects of COVID, Lands was able to find an upside in all of the confusion that the virus has brought. 

“I think one upside to COVID for me is that I have gotten to really dig deep in my faith, learning the word and really get an understanding for it throughout the pandemic,” said Lands. 

COVID has affected each sport differently, not only because of the way that the sport is played but also because of the types of gear that different sports require. 

While COVID has had an impact on every person on campus, the athletes are affected in a unique way. Along with the daily stress of classes and athletics, COVID has added an additional hassle for those in athletics. 

Check out The Bison next week for an inside look at how COVID affects both men’s and women’s soccer. 

NBA playoffs will continue playoff format

 Devin Miller

Sports Editor

 Though this is a difficult time for everyone due to COVID-19, the NBA playoffs will continue their traditional seven-game format that began last month. 

There are two to three games hosted per day in order to fit every game within their schedule. 

The 16 teams currently in the NBA playoffs include, the Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trailblazers, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets, LA Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

According to the official NBA website, the teams remaining from the western conference, during the semifinals include the Los Angeles Lakers at the number one seed, LA Clippers at the number two seed, Denver Nuggets at the number three seed and the Houston Rockets at the number four seed. 

 The Los Angeles Clippers are currently facing off with the Houston Rockets and are down one game, putting their series record at 0-1 for Los Angeles. However, the LA Clippers are up in their current series against the Denver Nuggets making their record 1-0. 

The teams remaining from the eastern conference, during the semifinals include the Milwaukee Bucks at the number one seed, Toronto Raptors at the number two seed, Boston Celtics at the number three seed and the Miami Heat with a technical number five seed.

 The Western conference consisted of the Portland Trailblazers with the number eight seed, and the Memphis Grizzlies with the number nine seed, fighting for the last slot in the NBA playoffs. 

This ultimately led to Portland going 1-0 taking the win in the series, and later competing with the Los Angeles Lakers, the number one seed. Which resulted, in the Los Angeles Lakers winning 4-1 in the series. 

 Within this bracket, the Houston Rockets, at the number four seed, battled it out with the Oklahoma City Thunder, at the number five seed. The Houston Rockets then won 4-3 in the series. 

The Denver Nuggets, at the number three seed, faced the Utah Jazz, at the number six seed, and ultimately won 4-3 in the series as well. 

 The LA Clippers, at the number two seed, took on the Dallas Mavericks, at the number seven seed and won the series 4-2. 

 During round one of the 2020 NBA Playoffs, the Eastern conference consisted of the Milwaukee Bucks, with the number one seed, and the Orlando Magic, with the number eight seed, and resulted in Milwaukee winning the series 4-1. 

Within this bracket, the Indiana Pacers, at the number four seed, faced the Miami Heat, at the number five seed, which lead to a technical underdog sweep from Miami Heat, after winning the series 4-0. 

 The Boston Celtics, at the number three seed, played the Philadelphia 76ers, at the number six seed, and eventually won the series with a sweep of 4-0. 

The Toronto Raptors, at the number two seed, faced the Brooklyn Nets, at the number seven seed, and resulted in another sweep of 4-0 in this series. 

The NBA playoffs Conference will be played on Sept. 30, 2020. The Western Conference teams will include the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Houston Rockets, and the LA Clippers vs. the Denver Nuggets. The Eastern conference teams will include the Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat, and the Toronto Raptors vs. the Boston Celtics. 

Bison baseball, individual team leaders take Northwestern Oklahoma State University this week

Baseball PIC.jpg

Courtesy Photo/OBU Athletics

Above: OBU Bison baseball competed against Northwestern February 21 and 22, wining both games (10-13 and 7-12).

Payne Moses

Sports Reporter

The Oklahoma Baptist University Bison faced the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Rangers February 21st.

Jake Lipetzky led the Bison as starting pitcher and took on Scott Cree- don, the Ranger’s starting pitcher.

Entering the matchup, Lipetzky had a 2-1 record as a starter and 29 strikeouts on the season.

His outstanding play would continue against Northwestern, only giving up two hits and a single run in the entire nine innings he pitched.

In the game, Lipetzky amounted nine strike- outs, gave up no walked runners and amassed only 110 pitches, averaging about 12 an inning.

OBU, Joey Pledger, a center fielder, was three for three on hits per at bat, hitting the lone homerun for the Bison, a double and a single.

Equally as important in the team’s success, Ramon Gomez, a designated hitter, batted in three runs on two doubles, the first being in the fifth inning to break the 1-1 tie, and the second and third coming in eighth to extend the Bison lead to five runs.

Early on, the contest was a toss up with neither team being able to break through the opposing defenses’ approach. The first two innings only yielded a total of one hit by Cliff Pradd, shortstop at OBU, who doubled on his first at bat in the first inning.

Scott Creedon of Northwestern was initially efficient against the Bison hitters he faced in the first four innings of the game, but eventually OBU found its groove.

As for Jake Lipetzky of the Bison, he began quite the opposite to Creedon, giving up two hits in the second inning, though they would be the only two he would surrender.

Despite this sluggish start, the Bison would make the fifth inning a turning point in the ball game.

Lipetzky began the Bison run by only needing six pitches in the fifth to obtain three outs, one being a strikeout.

On the offensive side of the ball, OBU amassed three hits in the fifth alone, with Pledger beginning the inning with a double, Gomez batting him in with a double of his own and Eric Carlson, first base- men, with a single to allow Gomez to score and give the Bison a 3-1 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth, Northwestern made a pitching change from Creedon to Rafael Lara after Lipetzky once again shut out the Rangers in the sixth.

Though Lara walked three straight batters in the sixth, the Ranger’s defense stepped up and stranded all three Bison runners on base maintaining the two-run deficit.

Lipetzky, in the top of the seventh, easily went through the NWOSU batters, only amounting 10 pitches and staying ahead in the count, keeping strikes always in time with any balls he would throw.

The OBU Bison then extended their lead to three runs in the seventh, with Kamana Bartolome, third basemen, having a double and Carlson batting him in home with a double of his own.

Almost rhythmically, Lipetzky obtained two strikeouts in the top of the eighth inning, for his ending total of nine strikeouts, not allowing any momentum switch.

To solidify the victory, the Bison had three consecutive hits to begin the bottom of the eighth, Pledger with a single, Pradd with a double and Gomez batting the two runners in with his own double.

Ramon Enriquez, catcher, secured the win with a sacrifice fly-out to knock in Gomez.

Fittingly, Jake Lipetzky closed out the game and a 7-1 Bison victory.

Afterward the game, coach Chris Cox spoke of the key to the win.

“Without a question, it was Jake,” Cox said. “Jake went out there and set the tone, commanded all three pitches and just pounded the strike zone. He set the tone, didn’t give them [The Rangers] anything.”

In terms of the turning point of the game, or climax. Cox said he understood capitalization of opportunity was the change.

“We needed to do a better job of hitting with runners in scoring position and less than two outs,” Cox said.

“We put ourselves in good position, had a couple key hits there later in the innings, but I feel like we can do a better job of that early.”

More than just the key at bats or Lipetzky’s performance, Cox honed in on the greatest contributing factors to the night’s success.

“Yes, patience late and getting deep into counts, worked the pitch count up,” Cox said. “Got their starter out of the game in the sixth inning, and went to work a little bit on their bullpen.”

The Bison improved to 9-2 on the season, up- ping their win streak to five and Great American Conference record to an impressive 4-0.

This triple-header against Northwestern concluded February 22nd (OBU winning, 10-14 in game one and 7-12 in game two), and the OBU Bison took on Central Oklahoma February 25th at home on Bobby Cox Field.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STUNT team wins against Dallas Baptist University, gears up to compete at Maryville University

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OBU Athletics/the Bison

STUNT team took home some big wins this past weekend.

Anthony Williams

Assistant Sports Editor

The Oklahoma Baptist University stunt team went 20-0 Saturday February 8, 2020 in Oklahoma City against Dallas Baptist University.

The Bison have started the season undefeated and plan for a successful year.

Although cheer and stunt may look the same, they have their differences.

“When we are cheering on the sidelines, our job is to be loud, doing chants, in order to get the crowd involved in the game that is being played,” health and human performance major Hollie Steele said.

“When we are at a stunt game, we’re the ones competing,” she said. “We play against other schools. Essentially both teams are doing the same routine at the same time; the team that does the best routine gets a point. Games are divided into four quarters. Quarter one stunts, quarter two pyramids, quarter three tumbling and quarter four [are all] combined into one routine.

Steele also said competitions important for STUNT in general.

“Stunt games are currently in the process of merging into becoming a way to make cheerleading a recognized NCAA sport,” she said.

One of the reasons for this team’s early success is the motivation.

“I would say our motivation for each other is what pushes the team to do good. We know our potential and we try to perform at a high standard,” senior health and human performance major Alexis Mixon said.

For Mixon, team cohesiveness is important.

“Not just one person can pull off a win; it requires all of us. We are one big team and can’t do it without each other. I love how this stunt group has unity,” Mixon said.

Another reason for the Bison’s success is setting team goals and taking it one game at a time.

“Our team goal is to go undefeated in conference and get ranked top four to go to nationals,” Mixon said.

Help from the new transfers and underclassmen make the goal more attainable, she said.

“Many freshman and transfers have stepped up and fulfilled big roles. They are eager to learn and hungry for a win. The newcomers learn very quick as well which helps us a lot because we learn more routines,” Mixon said.

The nine seniors on the team all work to keep the group moving in the right direction.

“We have several leaders on the team like Aleigh Leduc, Mickayla Corvi and Alexis Mixon,” Steele said.

“Their experience helps so much because they went through everything already. All of our seniors do a good job stepping up and leading by example in their own special areas,” Steele said.

The support from fans is appreciated by the Bison.

“Fun support is really important at stunt games,” health and human performance major Mikayla Corvi said. “A loud crowd and sideline keep the game fun,” she said.

“Especially when a game is very close, crowd involvement really takes the atmosphere to the next level. One of the best feelings is doing a routine really well and then hearing the loud screams and excitement coming from the stands,” Corvi said.

The Bison believe the success started in this past off-season.

“The fall is technically considered our off-season,” Corvi said.

But we practice year- round just like we would in the season. We go by the saying of ‘you practice how you play.’ This team works really hard at trying to reach our full potential and be as good as we can be,” she said.

The Bison’s next STUNT game will be against the de- fending champions at Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri February 21 and 22; then the following weekend they take a trip to compete against Dallas Baptist in Dallas. 

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Bison track and field return from J.D. Martin Invitational with four first-place finishes

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Devin Miller

Sports Editor

The Oklahoma Baptist University men and women’s track and field teams both competed in the JD Martin Invitational Saturday February 8 beginning at 9 a.m. in Norman, Oklahoma. The Bison returned back home to Shawnee, Oklahoma with four first-place finishes and one provisional NCAA Divi- sion Two qualifier.

“NCAA Division One teams, Oklahoma State University, Oral Roberts University, North Texas, Louisiana Tech, California State-Bakersfield and OU provided OBU with motivation to compete well and make a good showing,” said head coach Ford Mastin in a recent OBU athletics article.

“The teams are starting to show the ability to compete with quality competition. We believe the teams in attendance saw our Bison spirit, effort and excellence.”

The men’s team recognized junior Nathaniel Worley, who won the high jump with a provisional NCAA Division Two with a height of 2.08m.

Other noted performance include: senior Brandon Crowley who finished in second place after competing in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 8.07, junior Shirvante Knauls who competed in the 600 yards with a time of 1:13.25 and senior Hayden Ashley who competed in the high jump with a height of 1.95m.

Freshman Marcus Petersen, freshman Jax Holland, freshman Zachary Coak and junior Shirvante Knauls all competed in the men’s 4 x 400 relay with a time of 3:18.39.

The OBU women’s track and field team returned home with three top-place makers.

Junior Cameka Witter competed in the 400 meters and won with a time of 56.14, overtaking her teammate sophomore Taylor James by 1.76 seconds.

The Bison returned home with the 4 x 400 relay and the distance medley with times of 3:56.90 and 12:37.05.

Freshman Adeline O’Connor, sophomore Taylor James, junior Sherine Van Der Westhuizen and junior Cameka Witter all competed in the 4 x 400 relays on February 8, while junior Allison Derry, sophomore Tizhane Brooks, sophomore Emma Downing and freshman Adeline O’Connor all competed in the Distance Medley Relay.

Sophomore Dawnnae Chatman finished third place in the 200 meter with a time of 25.91.

Additionally, senior Tesa Potter competed in the mile with a time of 10:36.92. Jana LeRoux also returned to OBU with a third-place finish with a time of 10:36.92 in the 3000 meter.

On Friday February 14 and Saturday February 15 both the Oklahoma Baptist University men and women track and field teams will both participate in the Gorilla Classic in Pittsburg, Kansas.