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Boys basketball: Putnam City West's Marquis Johnson is 'The Separator'

The 5-foot-7 sophomore guard comes up big in Patriots' victory over No. 1-ranked Tulsa Union. He is The Oklahoman's Boys Basketball Player of the Week.
by Scott Wright Published: January 13, 2014
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photo - Putnam City West's Marquis Johnson (10) drives the ball past John Marshall's C.J. Smith (4) during the 15th annual Putnam City Invitational basketball tournament at Putnam City West High School in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Putnam City West's Marquis Johnson (10) drives the ball past John Marshall's C.J. Smith (4) during the 15th annual Putnam City Invitational basketball tournament at Putnam City West High School in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

BETHANY — Marquis Johnson has a lot of nicknames.

The skinny 5-foot-7 sophomore guard for Putnam City West is affectionately known as Junior, The Natural, and Cool Whip.

“There's not a move he can't make, and he's so smooth,” PC West coach Lenny Bert said.

And Bert added a new name to the list after Johnson's clutch performance in the Patriots' win over No. 1 Tulsa Union in the finals of the Putnam City Invitational Saturday night.

“Maybe we should call him The Separator,” Bert said. “If the game's close, he separates it to five, or separates it to seven.”

He was West's leading scorer against Union with 13 points, and averaged 10.7 points per game in the tournament, earning The Oklahoman's Boys Basketball Player of the Week honor.

On a team full of guards who are bigger and more experienced scorers, it would be easy for Johnson to get lost in the shuffle. But he finds his way into key situations and comes up with clutch plays.

The Patriots opened the fourth quarter against Union with a nine-point lead, and Union quickly hit a 3-pointer in hopes of gaining some momentum. Moments later, Johnson was fouled shooting a 3, sank all three free throws and the lead was quickly back up to nine.

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by Scott Wright
Reporter
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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