After regular seasons that saw both Chickasha basketball teams finish in the top 10 in 4A, they're ready to do it all over again.
The "second season" begins Saturday night, Feb. 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the District 2 finals against Astec Charter at the CHS Activity Center. Both the Fightin' Chicks and Lady Chicks enter the game off of wins, and both will look to seize momentum at the right time.
"Our goal we made at the beginning of the year is to just win the last game," junior Brock Henderson said. "If you win the last game, you're going to win them all."
For the No. 7 Chickasha boys, a boost was welcome ahead of Saturday. They had racked up three losses ahead of Tuesday's trip to 5A No. 3 El Reno, and victory on the road was just what the doctor ordered.
"We were struggling a little bit," Henderson said. "We had lost three in a row, so I think it was good for us to get a big win against a highly-ranked team in 5A to get us going. We've got to win seven in a row, so it's good to get on a roll heading into the playoffs."
In that El Reno victory, Chickasha showed a side of themselves that had been identified as a strength. Quick transitions helped them to an insurmountable lead over the Indians, and Head Coach Wes Pulliam said it got the team back to playing the way they need to in the postseason.
"We haven't been running like that at all," Henderson said. "I don't know if it's that we practiced hard on Monday, if something happened, I don't know. Something changed, and I think we figured out how we've got to play to be successful in the playoffs."
For the Lady Chicks, defense made the largest different in their victory, and season sweep, of El Reno. It's been a major focus this season, and the Chickasha girls now enter the playoffs with a wide variety of defensive sets to throw at opposing attacks.
"It's been a lot of fun playing defense this year," senior Dominique Golightly said. "We go over it a lot in practice, and we actually focus more on defense than offense. He always tells us defense helps us win the ballgame."
Head Coach Kirk Reimers is in his second year with Chickasha, and Golightly said the familiarity with his system and team roles is making a difference this season.
"We're way more prepared than we were last year," Golightly said. "Not only offensively, but defensivley. We work on different scenarios in practice. Everybody knows what to do, what positions they take part in, and when we put it all in, anybody can contribute in any type of way."
With four seniors in the starting lineup, there is a slight sense of "now or never" in a squad hungry to go much farther than the area round they reached last year. It could serve to drive Chickasha forward, even as they are expected, on paper at least, take care of business in the district and regional rounds.
"Coach has been stressing that we need to get to the next level, and not stopping here," Golightly said. "It's only going to get tougher from here on out. He's been stressing that we grind a little harder, work a little harder."