The Christmas break can mean a lot of things for a sports team.
A chance to reset up and recover, practice, break an unlucky streak or even get rusty and out of shape.
The Ridgerunners have been working hard over the break to get as much team practice in as they can.
The boys returned Dec. 27, and Coach Zach Trimble said, his team is ready to play.
“The extra practice will help us fine tune some things and get us prepared for the second half of the season," Trimble said.
The girls also continued practicing over the break.
“We will continue to work on what we do," said Coach Richard Bassett. "[We] try to maintain our shape and will add a few things to our offense.”
Both teams are eight games into their regular season and are entering the longest stretch with regular games lasting until the end of February.
The Ridgerunners’ boys are 4-4 having lost to Collinsville, Jay, Sperry and Pryor.
The boys have lost two games at home and two on the road but both the home games against Collinsville and Pryor were close.
With close to a third of their season out of the way the team has generated enough time on the court to break down some strengths and weaknesses.
As is the case with many teams competing at the high school level the boys are showing a slow start in the first quarter of play.
Their effective field goal percentage or eFG which takes into account both the two and three-point shots made and excludes free throws is significantly lower in the first quarter averaging 37.3 percent.
The team is still scoring well against their opponents which is determined by their plus-minus which indicates if the team is outscoring or is outscored by their opponent on the floor.
Grove is seeing an average plus-minus of +0.6 during their slower first quarter of play.
The second quarter eFG is 60.5 percent and there is also a big jump in plus-minus which improves to +2.4 to close out the first half of play.
However, the trend for the Ridgerunners is showing their weakest quarter of play to be the third quarter with the eFG dropping to 45 percent.
The biggest impact on their game is the plus-minus score which averages out to -2.1 in the third quarter meaning their opponent is able to practically erase most gains made during the first half of play.
The fourth and final quarter of play is still showing in the negatives for the boys with the eFG improving to 49.3 percent but still -0.9 in the plus-minus.
As with any statistic they are provided to mainly determine trends and areas that need focus.
The team over is performing well averaging 7 steals, 5 deflections and 15.6 fouls a game all while shooting 52.9 percent of their free throws.
Going into the remainder of their season it will be important for the boys to focus on having a stronger third quarter of play while they look to bring up their free throw percentage.
If you look at the average posted by big colleges the free throw percentage ranges from 80.9 by Central Michigan on the high end to 58.4 by Boston University on the bottom end.
While comparing high school ball and college ball is like comparing apples to oranges it’s a good bench mark to see where your team falls.
The Lady Ridgerunners are 7-1 in early start of their season with a current six game winning streak under their belt.
Their only loss of the season so far came against Tahlequah Lady Tigers in game two of the season 56-64.
Tahlequah traditionally offers a top-quality basketball program and should offer a great rematch Jan 30 with the Lady Ridgerunners play them again.
The way the season has started for the ladies its earned them a ranking in the state of Oklahoma.
Coming in at 64 overall in the state and 13 in class 4A out of a total of 36 schools.
When you break the girls game down by quarter they show a little different story then the boys do.
The first quarter of play is the second best quarter for the girls with an eFG of 44.1 percent and a plus-minus of +7.0 giving them big early gains over their opponents.
It is their second quarter of play that shows the biggest drop in performance with an eFG of 36.7 percent but despite the fall in shooting the ladies are still ahead by +2.8 over their opponent.
This assessment is also validated by the fact their free throw percentage also suffers during the second quarter dropping from 62.5 in the first to 44.8 during the second.
Regardless of the slower quarter, which all teams have, the girls are able to return from the half strong shooting an eFG of 42.9 percent in the third and close out the fourth quarter with their best shooting of the game at 56 percent.
As that translates to scoring the girls are up +5.6 in the third and +8.4 in the fourth quarter.
With all these figures being thrown out its important to note the Lady Ridgerunners are continuing to outpace their opponents during all four quarters of play on average.
Their overall free throw percentage is sitting at 62.5 which puts them in the range of teams playing at the college level.
Defensively the girls are averaging 13.5 deflections, 16 steals, 2 blocks and finish with 16.1 fouls per game.
For the Lady Ridgerunners continuing to show improvement in all aspects of the game will ensure them a successful season.
Bringing their second quarter game up to speed and working on their three point shots which is showing a lower average of 23 percent.