Despite a starting lineup that regularly includes a combination of five freshmen and sophomores, coach Terry Long's Mustang Broncos have found their groove early this basketball season.
After starting 0-2, the Broncos have won six straight, including Thursday's 77-60 win over Del City in the first round of the Mid-Del Holiday Invitational at Del City.
Geoff Hightower, a 6-foot-5 sophomore forward, had 22 points and 16 rebounds, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers to lead the Broncos.
“We've got guys who are willing to do whatever's asked of them,” Long said. “Hightower is a high-character kid who understands what we're trying to do. He'll come in and do whatever's needed. He got on the floor for so many loose balls — those hustle points can really change a game.”
Sophomore Terrell Williams had 17 points for Mustang, while freshmen Austin Meyer and Jakolby Long had 10 points apiece.
Del City (2-4), which was the Class 5A preseason No. 1, finds itself looking for some chemistry as coach Tim Stogsdill tries to blend several new faces with the core of his returning group. Junior Brett Cannon led the Eagles with 14 points, while Stephen Edwards added 10.
PC NORTH RALLIES FOR IMPORTANT WIN
Putnam City North went into the holiday break with a pair of painful losses to Putnam City and Edmond North, and through nearly three quarters, it looked like Norman was going to add its name to the list.
The Tigers led PC North by 18 points in the third quarter, before defensive changes and some hot shooting from senior guard John Robert Simon turned momentum and gave the Panthers a 59-52 win in the first round of the Mid-Del Holiday Invitational.
Simon hit two crucial 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, and T.J. Jones had a steal, blocked shot and dunk in the final two minutes to help close the door.
“This was a huge win,” said Simon. “We came out slow in the first half, not playing very good defense, not moving our feet. It showed that if we don't do those things, we can get way behind like that.
“After those two losses coming into this tournament, we knew we needed a win. Having that big run, we knew we could finish it off and win it.”
Alex Clark hit three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points for PC North, while Jones added 11.
Norman was led by sophomore Cooper Clark, who made five 3s on his way to 19 points.
PC North will face Mustang in Friday's semifinals.
NORTHEAST GIRLS ROUT DEL CITY
T'ona Edwards and LaNesia Williams combined for 46 points as the Northeast girls continued to flex their muscle as one of the best teams in any class with a 70-49 win over Class 5A No. 5 Del City.
Northeast, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, used its athletic, attacking defense to create a steady stream of takeaways.
Edwards finished with 26 and Williams had 20. Del City led 15-12 after one quarter, but Williams had 14 in the second to ignite the rout. Edwards had two of her three 3-pointers in the second as Northeast scored 29 in the period.
Dionna Collins scored 16 to lead Del City.
Douglass point guard Stephen Clark scored 47 points in a 93-63 win over Broken Bow in the Idabel Classic. ... Coming off back-to-back games over 40 points, OKC Storm junior Chauncey Collins scored 29 in a 56-46 win over Bixby at the Mid-Del Invitational. He has scored at least 20 in 13 of the last 14. ... Seven Midwest City players had at least nine points in an 89-52 win over Enid, led by Torey Noel with 17.
By Scott Wright