Carney Bulldogs Basketball – Presented by Central Electric Cooperative

Central Oklahoma Credit Union

By John Tranchina

The season may have ended for the Carney boys basketball team on Feb. 15 when the Bulldogs lost to Waynoka, 51-43, in the Class B Regional playoff tournament, but that doesn’t overshadow what was a big positive step forward this year.

In his first season as Carney’s head coach, Taylor Freeman focused on implementing a culture change and establishing a foundation for future growth in a program that has not experienced a whole lot of success in recent years.

The signs of progress were definitely there for a squad that overcame a difficult 1-8 stretch through January and early February to win their district playoff bracket before falling in the Regional playoffs and winding up its season with a 12-14 record overall.

“It went good. We did win districts, which is something they haven’t done since 1983,” said Freeman, a 2006 Carney graduate who spent three seasons playing minor league baseball in the New York Mets organization before returning home. “We feel like we’re on the right path. We feel like we at least made a step forward and we definitely got to build on that and continue to get these kids and the culture turned around to where we believe we can go further and further into the playoffs each year. And get the entire group of guys from the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade levels to believe that and get the culture set so that we can start to produce some athletes that are ready to step in there and make a difference and win. That’s our goal. I felt we took at least a step towards that.”


Freeman praised his group of four seniors, singling out Dakota Reedy (their leading scorer who was named conference Most Valuable Player), Isaac Forbes, Otis Elam, and Noah McFadden as being instrumental in helping lead the overhaul this season.

“Those seniors were able to buy into the system,” Freeman said, “and prove that when you make a decision to work hard every day and have a plan of what you’re going to get better at and how we’re going to improve in our game plan overall. We prepare each game for our opponent and really dial in our game plan and everybody get on the same page, and I was able to have four seniors there that bought in and that means everything.”

Even though the seniors will be graduating, Freeman isn’t worried about next year, after seeing how they helped set the foundation for creating the squad’s next group of leaders.

“Now these [younger] guys see how it works and they see how to do it, so maybe the next guys in line will be able to step into that role, so they at least saw it done,” Freeman said. “We could be a really good group if we really put in the work this summer and these guys seem to be strong kids that really get down and get after it.”