- Associated Press - Sunday, March 12, 2017

ALVA, Okla. (AP) - Randy Turney won more than 800 games as a boys and girls basketball coach with stops at Drummond, Dover, Burlington, Enid, Medford and Cherokee - but the closest he ever came to a gold ball was losing to Hammon and the Minor twins (Ryan and Damon) in the 1992 Class B boys finals.

But he’s proud to say he’s the father of two daughters - Tasha Diesselhorst and Tana Gragg - who have won state championships after Tana’s Kremlin-Hillsdale’s girls upset defending champion Lomega, 53-43 in the Class B finals Saturday at the State Fair Arena. Tasha, now coaching at Northwestern Oklahoma State, won a Class A state title at Pond Creek-Hunter in 2014.

“It feels awesome,” Turney said. “Sometimes you have to pinch yourself to believe whether it happened or not. I had 800 wins, but the one Tana had tonight and the one Tasha had in 2014 were 100 times better than any one that I had as a coach. As a parent, it feels good to see all their hard work pay off.”

Turney is glad now his daughters didn’t listen when he advised them not to go into coaching. Coaching was in the family’s blood. Turney’s wife, Robyn, was a longtime assistant coach and a one-time assistant coach of the year winner. Grandfather Bob Kramer is considered the father of 8-man football in the state and has numerous state titles to his credit. Aunt Kim Barth won four state titles at Woodward and is now Tasha’s assistant at NWOSU.

“They had a lot of passion for the game,” Turney said. “They knew the amount of work it takes and the sacrifices you have to make.”

Both have been role models for their young female players, the Enid News and Eagle (https://bit.ly/2m4RGho ) reports.

“They really care about their kids,” Turney said. “They do stuff a lot of people don’t see. They often have to be a second mom or be a counselor a lot of times today. They both set an example for their players beyond what happens on the basketball court like how to act away from the court and concentrating on their academics. They are teachers first - they are trying to show the kids how to be a better person and a better teammate.”

Tana showed she was her father’s daughter for her passion for defense. That showed up against Lomega, which had scored 112 points against Varnum the night before.

“I joked with her that you surely could hold them under that,” Turney said with a laugh. “They played unbelievable defense tonight. They are the best defensive team that I have seen in a while.”

The championship was a five-year process for Gragg, who built a trust and bond with then eighth-graders Jordan Harris, Rebecca Wasson and Kalli Rundle. As a seniors they would be the heart and soul of the team. They would take the team to three area tournaments before breaking through this season.

“You could tell then they would be a special group,” Turney said. “I told them if they worked hard and spent time dedicated to the right things, they could accomplished a lot. They didn’t say anything then, but they are believers now. They spent the extra time in the gym, lifting weights and going to team camps. They saw it all pay off.”

Turney watched “a lot of film” with his daughters and offered advice when asked. But when the ball was thrown up, he was strictly a father. He watched the finals from the scouts table.

“It was pretty nervewracking,” he said.

Turney tried to offer different options when asked for his advice from his daughters. He always told them they knew their teams and players better than he did.

“You have to do what’s best for the kids and what will work out best for them,” he said.

Turney, the father, was optimisic because the Lady Broncs gave Lomega two scares in the regular season - 51-44 in the Cherokee Strip finals and 63-60 at Kremlin on Feb. 4 when Kenzie Lamer hit a buzzer beater for the win.

“I knew they wouldn’t be intimidated,” Turney said. “A lot of people are intimidated by Lomega’s success and tradition.”

Turney had told Tana last Sunday she was about to head into the most hectic week of her life having to deal with media, making travel plans and scouting reports and practice.

“I told her not to worry about getting any sleep, you could do that next week,” he said. “She told me, ‘You weren’t kidding.’”

He could joke about being the only member of his family without a gold ball.

“I told them they can sit in the dining room with their two gold balls and I can sit in the den with my silver ball,” he said. “Seeing them have success is more important than anything that I ever did.”

Tana followed her dad as a math teacher. Tasha taught English just like her mother.

Tasha going to college coaching has worked out well since it means she doesn’t have to coach against her sister. Pond Creek-Hunter had beaten the Lady Broncs, 39-34 at the 2015 regional winners bracket semifinals, That wouldn’t have been a problem this year since the Lady Broncs droopped to Class B.

“I think it really helped them to play that good competition over the last three years,” Turney said.

Tasha has made strides at NWOSU as the Ranger women went from two to nine wins this season. She is hitting the recruiting trail hard to make NWOSU more competitive.

This week was emotional for Turney for another reason. His mother died on March 2, 2016. A year later Tana was coaching in her first state tournament. They played Burlington in the first round, which employs Turney as a part-time math teacher. He took the Burlington boys to their last state tournament (2013) and is close to Lady Elks coach Kirsten Pruitt.

“The kids were asking me if I was going to wear red (K-H) or purple (Burlington),” he said. “I told them blood was thicker than where I taught. I want Burlington to win every game, except against my daughter.”

Both of the Turney daughthers wore No. 22 in high school - the number of years K-H had waited to go to state again.

“Both of them have gone through a lot of adversity,” Turney said. “God has a plan for us. You always don’t know what it is, but if you do your best and work hard, it will work out.”

It did for his daughters.


Information from: Enid News & Eagle, https://www.enidnews.com



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