Transferring during high school can be a challenge … especially transferring during one’s senior year.
That’s the situation Bixby High senior guard Deonna Owens experienced when she moved from Booker T. Washington to Bixby for her final prep year. To say it was a tough adjustment for Owens would be an understatement.
“Honestly, it was a really big adjustment,” said Owens, the daughter of Sherry Brisco and Demario Owens. “It was a new environment because Booker T. is totally different from Bixby … it’s a lot more diverse. It was a big change. I didn’t have any friends, but the basketball team really helped me adjust.
“I played at Booker T and my playing time was up and down. I was a little nervous coming here, but I met with the coach (Tina Thomas) and met some of the players. It was pretty much a new team … coach said it was the best time to come. I really didn’t know how it would turn out, but it turned out great.
“It took me a while to fit in with the group but now I feel comfortable. I’m glad it turned out good because I was a little skeptical about how it would be,” added Owens. “It took a while for me to fit in with the group but now I feel comfortable.”
The 5-4 Owens became a member of a team featuring several freshmen and underclassmen. In fact, she was the only senior early on. Even though she was adjusting to a new environment, she realized she needed to be a leader.
“Deonna has been a huge asset. She comes in with a calm, sweet demeanor but on the court she’s a fierce competitor,” Lady Spartan coach Thomas said. “She supports all the kids and whatever role I ask her to fill she does it. I think it’s been a good move for her … she’s added a lot of versatility to our team.
“I think she’s helped the other players mentally. She’s been a good teammate,” Coach Thomas added.
Owens has been a starter and a solid contributor off the bench. Offensively, she’s not afraid to take the ball to the hole. Defensively, she has an aggressive mindset and likes applying full-court pressure.
Owens added, “At the beginning I tried to be vocal. I found out that people look up to the seniors here, so I knew I needed to step up and be a leader. The freshmen had been together since they were little … they knew each other. I was new and nobody knew me.
“I was the only senior when I came here before Avery (King) came. I was really happy to see her.” Owens noted. “I feel like I’ve gotten much better since I came here. I broke out of my shell and started getting more aggressive. I’ve become a different player. I can do more than one thing here … I can play several roles. I feel like I have more responsibility here.
“I just want to win … I don’t like to lose. I brought that with me from Booker T,” she added.
Owens, who carries a 4.0 grade point average, played a key role in the Lady Spartans’ recent eight-game winning streak and turned in a determined effort against her former school this past Tuesday. Bixby battled throughout and even led late before dropping a 51-50 decision to third-ranked Booker T. Washington, which improved to 18-2.
With the state playoffs a couple of weeks away, Bixby hopes to play with the same effort it displayed against the Lady Hornets. After hosting Union Friday (Feb. 14), the Lady Spartans wrap up the regular season at Broken Arrow on Tuesday, Feb. 18, before hosting Muskogee on Friday, Feb. 18. BHS hopes to play its best ball when the playoffs begin.
“We just need to get back to playing as good as we can for the regionals,” said Owens, who will consider academics first in her post-high school plans – pursuing a medical or science degree - while also planning to play college basketball.
“I really want to finish this season strong. We need to focus ahead and improve on some things from the Booker T game,” she added.