Putnam City West coach Lenny Bert wishes Saturday night had been March 15, instead of early January, but he'll take the Patriots' 52-47 win over No. 1 Tulsa Union just the same.
Sixth-ranked PC West got 13 points from sophomore Marquis Johnson and 12 from tournament MVP Tyson Jolly in handing Union its first loss of the season in the finals of the Putnam City Invitational at PC West.
The Patriots (11-2) were able to nullify Union's size advantage with active pressure defense.
“We gained confidence from going out of state and playing some teams that are even bigger than Union,” Bert said. “We felt from the start that we were the best team. But they're really good, and we're probably gonna see them again in March.”
Union led late in the third quarter, and got as close as four points in the final minutes, but PC West came through with enough plays to hold on for its second tournament title of the year.
“We started locking up defensively, and that's when we started running and hitting shots, just playing PC West basketball,” Jolly said. “We know if we box out and rebound, we're the best team in the state.”
Though he was six inches shorter than anyone on the Union roster, the 5-foot-7 Johnson came up clutch in several situations for PC West. The sophomore hit three big free throws early in the fourth quarter, and was tough on defense, guarding 6-foot-2 Alex Barton much of the night.