With two wins in its first seven games, Putnam City West has fought through a frustrating start to the basketball season, but all the pieces clicked into place Thursday night.
The Patriots exploded to a 28-11 lead in the first quarter and were able to hold off all potential rallies by host Putnam City North for a 70-52 win in the first round of the 14th annual Putnam City Invitational.
Tyson Jolly, a 6-foot-3 sophomore, keyed the fast start with 13 of his game-high 23 points in the first half, while junior Omega Haris finished with 16.
“We got off to a rough start this season, but coach (Lenny Bert) stays hard on us and we push each other,” Jolly said. “We knew we were prepared, so we just came out and played and had fun.”
The Patriots will face No. 1 Midwest City at 7 p.m. in Friday's semifinal action. The Bombers saw little resistance in a 79-29 win over Lawton. Cornell Neal had 16 points for Midwest City.
PC PULLS AWAY
For a half, John Marshall looked like a team primed to knock off one of Class 6A's best. But Putnam City's defense took over, forcing several turnovers as the Pirates pulled away for a 76-50 win in the first round of the PCI.
Ronnie Boyce had a game-high 22 points for Putnam City, while Richmarr Smith had 15 and David Bush had 12 for the third-ranked Pirates.
John Marshall led 15-6 late in the first quarter, and trailed only 31-28 at the half, but PC exploded with a 23-6 run in the third.
The Pirates will take on Lawton Eisenhower at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. Lawton Ike defeated Tulsa Union — defending champion of Class 6A, as well as the PCI — 66-55 Thursday, led by Jamey Woods with 17 points.
FRESHMEN LEAD TIMBERWOLVES
Norman North's youngsters are giving life to their whole team.
The Timberwolves' two freshmen starters combined for 21 points as Norman North beat Deer Creek 75-60 to open the 53rd annual McGuinness Classic on Thursday at Bishop McGuinness.
Norman North (4-5) will play Edmond North at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.
Freshmen Marcus Dickinson and Lindy Waters scored 15 and 6 points, respectively, but their influence goes much deeper, junior Payton Prince said.
“Those guys are really competitive and it rubs off on everybody,” Prince said. “I think especially with guys like myself and Kairo (Rutledge), it's helped us become better players.”
Prince led all scorers with 16, including eight in the first quarter. Tye Neubauer added 12.
Brett Valentine led the Antlers with 12.
Deer Creek plays Yukon at 3 p.m. Friday.
ERVIN'S DEFENSE HELPS LIFT EDMOND NORTH
Edmond North coach Steven Goss has been wanting senior guard Carlbe Ervin to play better defense off the ball.
Ervin flashed those skills Thursday, with a big defensive first quarter as the Huskies beat Yukon 52-36 at the McGuinness Classic.
“Carlbe can be a really, really plus defender when he wants to be,” Goss said. “His steals today were intercepting passes instead of him jumping the ball. He's allowing the scheme to come to him.”
Edmond North jumped to a 14-point lead after one quarter, helped by five steals from Ervin.
Tyler Sanders led the Huskies with 13 points while Ervin added nine.
BETHANY RALLIES FOR WIN
Luke McGrath scored 20 points to help Bethany overcome a late deficit for a 54-53 win over Harrah at the Bethany Tournament.
The Bronchos trailed by eight points after three quarters. Kyle Bottger had 13 points and Tanner Stiles 11 for Bethany, which will face Piedmont at 8:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals.
Piedmont routed Elgin 80-22 behind 26 points from Cameron Peters.
Jerrick Warren scored 16 as three Guthrie players reached double-figures to lift the Bluejays to a 58-55 overtime win against Norman at the McGuinness Classic. ... Millwood downed Western Heights 52-49 at the Bethany Tournament behind 14 points from Michael Mays. ... Julio Hukill had 16 points to lead Tecumseh to a 66-49 win over Casady. ... Dale's Evan Anderson had 21 points in a 52-44 win over Holdenville.
By Scott Wright and Ryan Aber