Putnam City North girls basketball coach Brett McGee saw a change in senior Sidney Carolina during a late January game.
Carolina looked more confident on the court. As a result, so did the Panthers as they pulled away from defending Class 5A champion Deer Creek to win the Bruce Gray Invitational.
Since then, Putnam North has been a dangerous team en route to making the Class 6A state tournament for the first time since 2010.
The Panthers open at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in Skiatook against No. 2 Edmond Santa Fe, a team that discovered how dangerous Putnam North is in a 49-42 win in February.
“Everybody’s underestimating us, and I honestly don’t really know why,” Carolina said. “We’re a good team, even though we lost some games that we shouldn’t have lost. I think we’ve overcame that. We’re a big threat now, I think.”
Carolina, who leads the team with 11.2 points per game, is the reason for that.
She’s became more aggressive. She also refuses to lose.
“It’s like she’s confident, but sometimes she’s not,” McGee said.” She’ll have that outer-confidence, but when it comes to the games, sometimes she won’t have that inner-confidence to take the shot or facilitate. But after (Deer Creek), she started doing that. Something switched on in that head of hers.”
Following the tournament, the Panthers (18-9) went 7-4 down the stretch, losing to Santa Fe, Yukon, Mustang and Muskogee. And included in that span are wins against Choctaw, Edmond Memorial and last year’s state champion Tulsa Washington.