Westmoore boys basketball has been stuck in a rut the last few years, winning no more than eight games each of the last three seasons.
But with a hot start, the Jaguars are halfway to double-digit victories this season, notching an impressive victory on Saturday night.
The Jags (5-1) defeated Class 5A No. 1 Del City, 60-58, only four days after the Eagles took down 6A's No. 1 team, Edmond Memorial.
Del City got 21 points from sophomore Brett Cannon, but Westmoore pulled it out down the stretch with solid play from an experienced roster. Junior Trey Ayala had a team-high 18 points for the Jags.
“We feel like we can be pretty good this year,” senior Beau Palmer said. “We have a lot of experience. We're strong on both ends of the floor.
“I think we're gonna turn things around. I expect big things this year.”
WASHINGTON VS. WASHINGTON AT TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Larry Johnston's Washington Warriors, the No. 1-ranked boys team in Class 3A, drew a difficult first-round matchup at the Tournament of Champions against another highly ranked Washington squad — Tulsa Washington.
Tulsa Washington is ranked third in Class 6A, having won the last two Class 5A state championships. The battle of the Washingtons, set to tip off at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 28, will highlight a busy day of basketball at the Tournament of Champions
Second-ranked Class 5A Bishop McGuinness will square off with Class 2A No. 4 Pawnee at 1:30 p.m. in the opening round.
This year, both the boys' and girls' Tournament of Champions will be played together, running Dec. 28-30 at Oral Roberts University's Mabee Center in Tulsa.
The boys' first round begins at 10:30 a.m. with Tulsa Union vs. Caddo, and concludes with Vinita vs. Forgan at 8:30 p.m.
The girls' first-round games include Tulsa East Central vs. Adair at 9 a.m., Jenks vs. Vinita at noon, Kansas vs. Tulsa Washington at 4 p.m. and Fort Gibson vs. Copan at 7 p.m.
DALE SEEKING RETURN TO STATE TOURNAMENT
After reaching the state tournament two seasons ago with a lineup full of seniors, Dale has reloaded and is looking to make a run back to the Big House.
Off to a solid 6-3 start against a challenging schedule, the Pirates look to be on the right track so far. Dale, ranked No. 10 in Class 2A, downed Christian Heritage 41-24 Friday night, thanks to a 20-7 run in the fourth quarter.
Dale was without 6-foot-5 junior Evan Anderson because of injury but got 14 points from Dustin Stark, and Daniel Banks added 13.
Anderson and Banks, a 6-foot-4 senior, give the Pirates a good height advantage against many Class 2A opponents.
“That's what we hang our hat on. Our two posts are gonna carry us,” coach Jeff Edmonson said. “Our guards are kind of young, but they're gonna be good by the time we get to playoffs.
“We've set the bar pretty high. We're thinking state tournament or we're gonna be disappointed.”