By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (January 25, 2018) — McKinley Bostad was not doomed to the Division II ranks, but chose them.
The past Kennedale superstar tabbed in 2014 as Texas Girls Coaches Association 1A-3A Athlete of the Year signed with Arkansas out of high school and was playing as a true freshman.
Having fallen out of love with her original school of choice, Bostad transferred to Texas State but played just one season in two years due to injury.
With one year left in Division I or two in Divsion II, Bostad called up an old teammate and asked about her career at Tarleton.
The rest isn’t so much history as it is history in the making. The TexAnns have recovered from dropping five of their first nine contests including dropping three of four to begin play in the Lone Star Conference, winning eight of their last nine, with five wins in six LSC games.
Tarleton is still fifth in the league standings, but just 2.5 games separates them from surprise leader Texas A&M-Commerce. The TexAnns look to avenge a pair of conference losses to begin the second half of LSC action, beginning with Cameron at 5:30 p.m. today, then Midwestern State at 2 p.m. Saturday, both in Wisdom Gym.
Switching primarily to an aggressive 2-3 zone defense has been a big reason why, but schemes are only as effective as the players executing them.
Chemistry, finding ways to get the most out of Bostad and fellow Divsion I transfer Katie Webster have been pivotal to the recent success.
LSC Preseason Player of the Year Mackenzie Hailey averages 14.8 points per game to lead the TexAnns, but its Bostad who has scored the most over the past nine, averaging 15.7 during that stretch.
It’s also Bostad who hit the game-winning free throws at West Texas A&M, Bostad who once dropped 11 in a fourth quarter and, who else, Bostad who scored 13 in the final three minutes and in overtime against Eastern New Mexico.
The Flash Today took notice and sat down this week to learn more about the Kennedale product, who shared everything from her take on head coach Misty Wilson to learning a longstanding Tarleton tradition the hard way.
BK – What was it like transitioning from man to zone as your primary defense?
MB – I’ve always played man-to-man, but I think the type of zone we use and the way Coach Wilson has us playing it allows us to be competitive in it. She says we don’t run a zone to be passive, we run it to be aggressive. I think you can see that with us getting passing lanes and deflecting balls, stealing balls, whatever we can to take them off their game.
BK – How has the move to zone defensively affected the team offensively?
MB – It’s helped a lot. I’m a big believer in defense creates offense, and when we’re playing our best is when were getting steals and getting into transition.
BK – Coming from Division I, what’s your perception of Division II?
MB – Honestly, sometimes I forget I’m at a lower division, and I think that says a lot about the level of competition here and about Coach Wilson’s program and the way she runs it.
BK – How has Tarleton been to you since your transfer?
MB – I love it. We have an awesome campus with great traditions. I almost stepped on the grass once and somebody yelled at me, so I know not to walk on the grass. (laugh) I love my coaches and my teammates, I’m jus very happy to be here.
BK – You averaged a little over nine points for the first nine games, but then you averaged almost 16 over the last nine. What changed?
MB – I think it goes back to the chemistry. You have to have feeling for your teammates and they have to have that with you, too. They didn’t really know where to find me then and now they do, so I get the ball in better position to score. Also some of it was switching between guard and post. I did that some in high school, but not in college until I got here.
BK – You’re a 5-8 guard by trade. What are the challenges when you go into the post.
MB – Size is the big one. I’m small for a college post. But my biggest strength I use to overcome that is vision. I see things well so, being undersized the first thing I look for is if I can hit Mack or Katie on the dive, then if I can get it out to an open guard for a 3.
BK – I would think there has to be some advantages to getting a post player on you and then making her play guard defense.
MB – Yes, definitely, we even have a play just for that, where I try to get a post player to come out and defend me outside so I can hurt them with the dribble or hit someone down low while she’s outside away from the post.
BK – Coach Wilson, what drew you to her and made you want to be part of her program?
MB – She’s so passionate. That’s what attracted me to Coach Wilson. She’s so so competitive that she’s a lot like me. I can feed off her and I know she will do everything in her power to help her team and players succeed and I really appreciate that.
BK – Alright last one then some fun. What will it take to avenge those losses to Cameron and Midwestern this week?
MB – Against Cameron, rebounding, definitely. We have to rebound better, that’s what Coach Wilson has been drilling into hour heads. Against Midwestern I think we have to come out overall with a lot more intensity than we did. Those were games we know we should have won and I know the whole team is excited that now we get to play them here.”
BK – Alright, let’s play a game. Its simple. I’ll say something and you just say the first thing it brings to your mind:
BK – Wisdom Gym
MB – Exciting
BK – Lone Star Conference
MB – Competitive
BK – Kennedale
MB – Memories
BK – Stephenville
MB – Interesting
BK – Tarleton
MB – Fun
BK – Coach Wilson
MB – Competitive
BK – Mackenzie Hailey
MB – Beast
BK – Basketball
MB – Love