by Michael Kinney
MIDWEST CITY — Putnam Metropolis North coach Ryan Wagner noticed it coming.
In the previous couple of days, his Panthers have not been practising on the stage of a staff with championship desires, and he thinks it’d come again to chew them.
It was nearly Friday after they encountered them unannounced Future Christian staff within the semifinals of the Carl Albert Titan Traditional. The Wildcats got here into the sport seeking to make an announcement whereas the Panthers have been simply taking part in.
Nevertheless, when the sport was over, 6A #3 Putnam Metropolis North defeated the hard-fought Wildcats 55-42 at Carl Albert Excessive.
“I assumed we have been proper. It was a type of issues the place you are at a degree the place you are 13-1 on the season and also you suppose you possibly can undergo the motions,” Wagner stated. “Future Christian got here out and outplayed us. They have been impressed the entire sport.
“On the finish, we have been very lucky to make some well timed pictures and free throws. I assumed they performed higher than us (Friday).”
The Wildcats took a nine-point halftime lead behind Jude Hill’s 3-point taking pictures and Sentinel Moore’s inside work. However the Panthers have been tied at one level at halftime.
Putnam Metropolis North led 37-32 late within the fourth quarter. The sport remained shut till Moore fouled out with 6:29 left within the sport.
“It modified the tone of the sport extremely,” Future Christian coach Jamin Jones stated. “If he wasn’t scoring or getting a rebound, he was drawing the gang. He opened up lots for our guards.
“It modified the entire sport.”
With Moore out, PC North guard Zander Baker continued to drive to the rim and both get fouled or make assists that led to buckets. He made 4 of 5 free throws within the fourth quarter.
“My job on this staff is to be a frontrunner and lead this staff,” Baker stated. “If that is what I needed to do to win, that is what I will do.”
The Panthers’ protection stiffened late within the sport they usually did not give Hill an opportunity to repeat his scorching taking pictures within the first quarter. Putnam Metropolis North pulled away because the Wildcats started to provide you with unfastened possessions and turnovers.
“Our children have been simply weak and never listening to the scouting report,” Wagner stated. “It is a type of issues the place you possibly can say we take issues with no consideration. We did not make any changes when (Hill) warmed up.
“We talked about it at halftime and I assumed they did a superb job within the second half and did a greater job defending it.”
Hill completed with 15 factors. However 11 got here within the first half. LaBron Wilson had eight factors and Moore had seven.
CJ Smith led the Panthers with 16 factors, whereas Baker added 14.
Wagner is hoping for a greater begin from its squad Saturday when it faces 5A No. 1-ranked Carl Albert within the championship sport. The Titans cruised previous Norman to succeed in the finals.
The sport will likely be a rematch of the Mustang Vacation Traditional in December The Panthers throttled the Titans.
“Carl Albert, they’re identical to us,” Wagner stated. “They’ve numerous custom of their basketball program they usually take satisfaction in what they do. I do know it harm them, they gave us the loss.
“I do know they will come out (Saturday) and play their finest sport towards us. If we get flat once more, they are a staff you do not come again from.”
Titans coach Jay Worth expects a greater effort from his staff in entrance of a partisan dwelling crowd.
“I really feel just like the final time we performed them, they actually introduced the sport to us,” Worth stated. “I do not suppose we have been prepared for his or her athleticism and aggressive play.
“Hopefully it is us this time. I believe our youngsters are a bit extra skilled at this level. They’re tremendous gifted, however I believe we’ll give them a bit higher run this time.”
The sport is scheduled for Saturday at 20:30.