By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Remember Ollie, the team manager, who came off the bench to hit the winning free throws to put the fictional Hickory Huskers in the state finals in “Hoosiers’’?
NOC Enid’s McKinsey Schumpert has out-Ollied Ollie for the Lady Jets, who face Murray State in an Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference showdown Tuesday at the Mabee Center.
Schumpert started the season as the team manager, but was pressed into duty when injuries started to decimate the team.
With the Lady Jets down to six players and both posts (Marisha Williams and Shannon Hough) out with illness, Schumpert scored five points in her first start in NOC Enid’s 86-80 overtime win Saturday at Connors.
“I never expected to be where I am now,’’ Schumpert said. “I thank God for the opportunity to come here. I thank coach (Scott) Morris for the opportunities he’s given me. It’s just been amazing.’’
Schumpert wasn’t the typical manager turned player.
She had played in four state tournaments at Anadarko where her teammates included ex-Lady Jet Tiffany Bellamy and NOC Enid freshman Kati Sullivan, who’s out with a knee injury.
Her father, Doug, has been a highly successful boys coach. Schumpert had practiced with the team the second semester as a freshman while being a manager.
“I’m used to playing,’’ she said. “I kind of wanted to play, but I wanted to be a coach, so I tried to focus on the other side.
“I knew there were a lot of good posts coming in so I decided to stay a manager. I always wanted to do what coach wanted me to do. He wanted to me to practice with them, and I just wanted to do whatever he needed me for. It just progressed from there.’’
Schumpert had been running and shooting, so conditioning wasn’t a problem. Her minutes grew because of various injuries and illnesses.
“I just wanted to do whatever I could to help the team,’’ she said.
Schumpert found the practices against Williams and Hough a quick education to playing college basketball.
“We push each other pretty hard,’’ she said. We might have an elbow in the face now and then, but it’s all to help each other.’’
Schumpert wasn’t nervous about getting her first start.
“It was just another game of basketball to me,’’ Schumpert said. “It was different. It was a lot of fun to get out there with all the girls and show what we got. No matter how many minutes I played, I was going to do what I could to help the team.’’
Schumpert had two putbacks for scores in the overtime period.
“I wasn’t thinking about the time,’’ she said. “I knew I had to put it up there for us to win. I look at myself as more of a defensive player. If we need a rebound, then I go try to get a rebound.’’
Schumpert and her teammates’ emotions gave them a burst of needed energy.
“We were all a little tired at the end,’’ Schumpert said. “But we pushed through it. It was a real intense game. We were all hyped up on adrenaline. You don’t feel as tired when you win.’’
Her confidence has grown with her minutes, and so has her respect among her teammates.
“I don’t think they see me as the girl who washes the laundry any more,’’ Schumpert said. “My confidence has grown a lot.’’
Actually, she still does the laundry. Her injured teammates, like Shelby Layn, have helped her.
Her relationship with Morris has gone from manager-coach to player-coach.
“Coach got on me a little bit for having two fouls in the first half,’’ she said. “We’re still close. He’s given me opportunities to do things that I never thought I would do.’’
Her father was her inspiration to be a coach.
“I wanted to be like him,’’ she said. “I always went to his games and practices. He encouraged me with his love of basketball.’’
She didn’t have the pressure of playing for her father directly. However, she had high expectations for herself.
“He was such a great coach that I felt I had to be a good player,’’ Schumpert said. “Since I wanted to be a coach, I felt I had to be a good player. I want to be as good as coach as he is.’’
Schumpert could play another year at NOC Enid, but is leaning toward going to a four-year school, either as a manager or a student assistant.
“I want to get my foot in the doorway,’’ Schumpert said. “I need to go out and meet coaches and build contacts. It’s not what you know, but who you know sometimes that get you jobs in coaching.’’
Tuesday is the final home game for Schumpert and the other NOC Enid sophomores.
“I’m just glad I got the opportunity to play like I did,’’ she said. “I thought I was done. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s (Sophomore Night) going to be emotional, but it’s going to be fun. I hope we can go out there and win it.’’