Whitney Coplin looking to instill basketball knowledge in first year at Mason
A former Okmulgee County basketball standout has faced some tough obstacles in their first year as a high school head coach during the 2023-24 campaign.
Whitney (Donathan) Coplin, who played high school basketball at Wilson (Henryetta) from 2010-11 to 2013-14, is currently in the final months of her first-ever head coaching job and is looking to instill a little bit of her knowledge of the game into the minds of her varsity basketball team at Mason High School in Okemah.
Coplin, a 2014 graduate of Wilson (Henryetta) High School, takes over the reins of the Lady Eagle basketball program after the departure of Alisha Stubblefield, who roamed the Mason sidelines the previous two seasons and guided the Lady Eagles to an 11-11 record in 2022-23 with Mason’s season ending with a 47-34 loss to Coplin’s alma mater in the opening round of the Class B district tournament at Wilson High School.
The former Lady Tiger athletic standout is not new to the coaching world, having served as assistant girls basketball coach to Gary Kennemer at Okemah High School last season.
With the departure of Stubblefield, Coplin was brought in to coach the Lady Eagle cage squad by superintendent and current boys head basketball coach Vernie Thomas, who was also an administrator and coach during Coplin’s high school days at Wilson (Henryetta).
Coplin’s Mason squad is 4-13 on the year and is currently competing at the Paden Tournament, beginning tournament play Thursday at 7 p.m. in a first-round battle with the Dewar Lady Dragons.
Coplin’s head coaching debut came November 3, 2023, when Mason opened the 2023-24 season at New Lima High School. The Lady Eagles were unable to award Coplin her very first head coaching win in the season opener, falling to the host Falconettes by a 53-21 margin.
After a 68-17 loss to 2023 Class B state qualifier Varnum on November 7, 2023, Coplin coached her very first home basketball game at Mason seven days later (November 14) against the visiting Macomb Lady Hornets. The Lady Eagles emerged from the home opener with a 43-40 victory – the first of the 2023-24 season and first-ever head coaching win for Coplin.
After back-to-back losses to Moss (73-22 on Nov. 17) and Schulter (5236 on Nov. 27), Coplin guided the Lady Eagles to back-to-back wins for an early 3-4 season record. The second win of Coplin’s head coaching career came November 28, 2023, at home against the Butner Lady Eagles by a 48-19 margin, while the Lady Eagles’ second-straight win came December 4, 2023, with a 41-32 victory over the Bowlegs Lady Bison in the first round of the Little River Conference Tournament in Seminole. Mason finished the LRC Tournament with a fourth-place finish following back-to-back losses to Varnum (58-6) and New Lima (38-37) in the final two games of the week-long tournament.
Coplin and the Lady Eagles finished the first-half portion of their regular- season schedule with road games against Okmulgee County foes – the Dewar Lady Dragons (Dec. 12) and Wilson (Henryetta) Lady Tigers (Dec. 15). Mason dropped the road meeting with Dewar by a 65-27 margin, then had Coplin’s return to Wilson (Henryetta) spoiled with a 59-27 defeat.
After a 2-week break for the holidays, Coplin and the Lady Eagles kicked off 2024 at the Weleetka Tournament January 4-6. After an opening- round loss to Crowder (34-32), Mason earned its fourth win of the season in the consolation semifinals with a 40-14 victory over Butner marking the second-straight win over the Lady Eagles this season.
Mason ended its participation at the Weleetka Tournament with a 49-36 loss to Wright Christian Academy in the consolation title contest and suffered losses to Strother (49-36) last Tuesday, Bowlegs (45-27) last Thursday, and Paden (64-38) last Friday to sit at 4-13 on the year.
The Lady Eagles were scheduled to face Earlsboro on Tuesday, but the contest was postponed until February 3 due to hazardous road conditions caused by Sunday’s snowfall across the state.
Besides the Paden Tournament this weekend and the rescheduled Earlsboro contest, Coplin and her Mason cage squad will have four more regular-season contests – at Graham-Dustin January 25, at home against Wilson (Henryetta) January 30, at home against Sasakwa February 2, and at Butner February 6 before postseason play begins with the Class B district tournament February 9-11 at a site to be determined by the OSSAA next Friday.