VINITA — Despite their 6-15 record, Miami coach JohnCarl Morgan is wary of the Dewey girls.

 “Their center (5-10 Lindsey Short) is very good with the ball in her hands — she takes around 75 percent of their shots and makes most of them,” said Morgan.

His Lady Wardogs battle Dewey Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in a Class 4A Area III regional elimination game at the James E. Sooter Activity Center here.

“I expect them to test their press against us and work out of a zone in the quarter court,” Morgan said. “Their man offense is very disciplined and directed, their zone offense looks for high-low action, with all offense revolving around the center.”

The Lady Bulldoggers had four starters back from a team that went 15-10. They crushed Nowata 68-18 in the season opener, went 5-5 the next 10 games, but have lost 11 of 12 since.

“They have a point guard (5-1 senior Baili Smith) that is deceiving in size and stature,” Morgan said. “She fouled out in the Oologah game (a 59-55 loss in district play Saturday night) and Dewey was a different team afterwards. They also have another guard (Burch) that has heated up lately from 3-point range.”

The Lady Wardogs (5-16) were bumped into the matinee game with a 77-39 loss to Vinita here last Friday in their district contest.

“It will be a tough environment in that it starts at 1:30 at a neutral site with a nearly empty gym,” Morgan said. “If the girls play aggressive on offense and hit some shots, I like our chances. We have a great bracket to advance in the tournament, but we’ll need to focus on Dewey before looking to Friday or Saturday.”

Makayla Vail has been the Lady Wardogs’ leading scorer at 12.3 points per game.

Miami’s boys (12-10) also have their backs against the wall after a 66-51 setback against Vinita — their seventh loss of the season to a team ranked in the top 20 in either Oklahoma or Missouri.

They in addition to three losses to No. 18 Vinita, Miami fell to 5A No. 13 Pryor twice, Missouri Class 5 No. 1 Springfield Central in the NEO tournament and Missouri Class 3 No. 5 Seneca.

Dewey slipped to 7-16 with a 74-54 loss at Oologah in their district.

Colby Myers, a 6-4 senior, is averaging 18.1 points and 9.0 rebounds a game.

The Wardogs will have starters James Pickens and Johnny Brice back in the lineup. Both missed last week’s games against Grove and Vinita.

Pickens is the Wardogs’ leading scorer at 14.1 points per game.

Trent Turner and Casey Hunter are also in double figures at 11.4 and 10.2, respectively.

Wins on Thursday would send Miami to Glenpool for the next two days of competition.