Sarah Tyree

Lady Spartans’ Tyree Accepts, Enhances Her Roles

 

By Ron Holt

Regardless of which team uniform she’s wearing, Bixby High senior Sarah Tyree, a standout fast-pitch softball player and basketball player, accepts her roles within those teams and works to improve her skills to benefit each team.

The past two seasons, Tyree has been a hard-working defensive player and a consistent rebounder for the 12th-ranked Lady Spartan basketball team. This season she’s become more of an offensive contributor for the Lady Spartans, who entered this week with a 12-3 record.

“I wanted to improve more offensively because I’ve been more of a defensive player,” said Tyree, the daughter of Phil and Holly Tyree. “I’m trying to branch out and get some shots myself this year. One thing I do take pride in is my defensive rebounding … that’s where I want to get the job done.”

Through 15 games, Tyree is averaging 7.4 points per game and has been credited with 82 rebounds, five blocked shots, 12 steals and 11 assists. She’s been a reliable, consistent player for head coach Tina Thomas.

“Sarah is an exceptional young lady on and off the court,” Coach Thomas said. “She has been a consistent player for the last two years. We can count on her for eight to 10 points, eight to 10 rebounds and tough defense.

“She’s a hard worker, never complains, is coachable, accepts responsibility for mistakes, leads by action, has no drama and is responsible, persistent and reliable. It’s been a joy to watch her transformation from an awkward, clumsy eighth grader into the hard-nosed, skilled player she is today.

“She’s in honors classes, makes straight A’s and has values I admire. It’s an honor to coach such an awesome young lady. Players like her make the job enjoyable and rewarding.” Coach Thomas added.

Tyree’s performance has been one part of Bixby’s improved season record. The Lady Spartans suffered narrow losses to Sapulpa, Midwest City and Edmond Memorial, while winning the Bixby Invitational, earning the consolation title in the Sapulpa Tournament and capturing third place in the Putnam City tourney this season.

“Team-wise, we already are accomplishing a better record than they’ve had since Bixby was state runner-up in 2013,” said Tyree, who has been coached by Thomas for four years. “I’m really proud of our team improving and coming together to win these games.

“Our goal at the beginning of the year was getting to the state tournament and playing as well as possible,” she added. “I think we have a good shot to do that. We kind of learned to work together and lean on each other which is something we lacked in past years so that’s really helped.

“I knew I needed to be more of a leader this year. We did meetings with Coach Thomas over the summer about leadership. We learned leadership skills and how to connect with others. I think I’m more of a lead by example leader. I’m not very vocal. That’s something Maddie Bittle is good at … she’s a vocal leader,” said Tyree, who is a National Honor Society member.

Tyree, who ranks ninth in her senior class, also excels academically. Her class load includes AP classes and she’s taking concurrent classes at Tulsa Community College.

“That’s something that’s always been important to me … it’s grades before sports,” said Tyree, who plans to major in biomedical engineering. “My dad is an engineer, he works in aerospace, and my mom’s a nurse at the children’s hospital so I’ve always been around those two things. I’m excited about it and think I’m prepared for it with what I’ve been taking.”

In the fall, Tyree was named an Oklahoma Fast-Pitch Softball Coaches Association all-state catcher on the Large East team after her impressive play for the Lady Spartans. She hit .435 with 54 hits, 13 doubles, two triples and four home runs. She led BHS in runs-batted-in with 39 and finished the season with a .966 fielding percentage.

“Sarah was an instrumental part in our success this season. She assumed a new role for us for a good part of the year and took on the task of learning to catch,” said Bixby softball coach Joy Marie Galliart. “In her previous three years she spent time in the pitcher’s circle as well as playing first and third base.

“This year we had a need for someone to step up and take some reps behind the plate and she was willing and able and did a phenomenal job. Sarah was not only our offensive leader but also was a leader defensively whether she was behind the plate or at a corner position,” Coach Galliart added.

Tyree plans to play collegiate softball and is currently weighing her future options.

“Right now, I’m looking at D1 (Division One) and I’ll probably end up having to walk on my first year and earn a scholarship off that. It’s called the preferred walk-on program,” Tyree said.”

That’s her plan after graduation. Her immediate plans are to continue contributing positive production down the stretch to help the Lady Spartans’ basketball team realize its season goal.

 

 

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