There was probably a moment of panic for Porum coach Bobbie Wheat last year when her leading scorer, Mallory Barrett, went down early on with a season-ending injury. But not to worry-a young sophomore named Emery Arnold was ready.
“Emery stepped in and was a player who could direct traffic and encourage her teammates,” said Wheat. “She always managed to come with big rebound or play when we needed it.”
The 5-10 Arnold had a great season averaging a double-double with 11.4 points and 10 rebounds a game and was a bright spot in a Covid and injury-riddled season for the Lady Panthers.
The daughter of Porum boys coach Michael Arnold, Emery grew up around basketball.
“My dad helps coach my AAU summer team and he’s always willing to open the gym and help me with my post moves,” said Emery. “My Aunt Alyssa is also a role model for me. She was on state champion softball and basketball teams at Oktaha and is always encouraging me and attends all my games.”
Arnold has what Wheat feels are some special talents as a post player.
“She’s a rarity as a post player who can not only score herself but has the ability to find an open player when defenses collapse on her. She does a lot of little things that sometimes post players don’t so. She doesn’t really think like a post player but more like what you’d see from a guard or forward,” said Wheat.
With just a couple of seniors on the team this year, Emery feels like she can contribute as part of the leadership of the team.
“I talk a lot, especially on defense and I try to be really motivational because I know some of the kids don’t have parents at the games,” said Arnold who is also in National Honor Society, student council, FCCLA and Fellowship of Christian Athletes while carrying a 4.0 GPA.
Things look much brighter for the Lady Panthers as the new basketball season begins. Of course, there’s Arnold, now a junior, with a solid year behind here. Barrett will be back from her injury along with junior Gracie Tiger who was also injured last season. In addition, there are a host of players who all saw significant playing time last year which will give Porum more depth than they’ve had in recent years according to Wheat.