BETHANY — There was a time not too many years ago when the Putnam City West boys basketball team was considered no different from many of the other sports at the school.
Sociological changes in the school district had turned a once-powerful athletic school into a place where winning had become difficult. Postseason success was a rarity.
But the boys basketball team has led the charge to show that it is possible to win on a consistent basis at PC West.
And this year's Patriots have even bigger goals in front of them. Ranked No. 2 in The Oklahoman's preseason Class 6A poll, PC West is arguably the best team in the Oklahoma City metro.
Off to a 3-1 start that included a win over rival Putnam City and a loss to Houston power North Shore High School, PC West isn't talking about the big goal of a state championship much yet.
“If we're looking ahead, we might lose focus on the task right in front of us,” said junior wing Tyson Jolly, who had 30 points and 22 rebounds in the triple-overtime loss to Houston-North Shore on Friday. “If we lose focus, we're gonna put ourselves behind and we'll be trying to catch up. We can't put ourselves in that situation.”
The Patriots reached the state tournament with a young team last year, led by Omega Harris, who has signed with UTEP. They added Santa Clara signee Stephen Edwards in the offseason when he moved over from Del City, bringing another potent scorer to an already stout lineup.
But when fourth-year coach Lenny Bert looks at the success his program is enjoying currently, he can't help but think back to the first month of his first season at PC West.
The Patriots were coming off a state tournament appearance with Tyler Neal and Amric Fields leading a team coached by Tim Stogsdill. Stogsdill headed to Del City, and Neal and Fields to college.