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Putnam City West girls claim 6A regional title with another win against Norman North

Lady Patriots convert 23 of 24 free throws, advance to area championship game

By Michael Kinney 

OKLAHOMA CITY - When Putnam City West and Norman North squared off Jan. 6 at the Putnam City Invitational, it wasn’t much of a contest.

The third-ranked Lady Patriots earned a 44-point win as the Lady Timberwolves were never a threat.

North brought an entirely different game plan when the two met in the 6A regional championship Saturday afternoon. While they provided a much tougher contest, the outcome was nearly the same as the Patriots picked up a 56-40 win Saturday at PCW.

“I think it's because when playoffs come around, teams make adjustments,” Putnam City West coach Ja’Ron Jefferson said. “They watch you on film, they know what your tendencies are, your offensive sets and players make plays.”

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The Lady Patriots started out the game unleashing a myriad of full-court presses on the Lady Timberwolves. Every time a North ball handler brought the ball upcourt, she had to get through freshman guards Jayla Constant, Shamar Bert and Da’Nae Jefferson, who all were able to force turnovers.

It looked like Putnam City West was going to roll up a big lead, but when North switched to a zone defense, it slowed the pace of the game down dramatically.

Putnam City West held a 25-18 lead at halftime.

“I think as far as pace wise, it slowed us down a little bit,” Jefferson said. “We weren’t reading the screens like we usually do, and we were turning the ball over, which is uncharacteristic of us.

"We're able to score in a zone, but it just kind of takes us a while some time.”

Hannah Fields and Olivia Watkins kept Norman North in the game. They were able to score on drives to the baskets or off offensive rebounds.

However, Putnam City West did a solid job of shutting down the Lady Timberwolves’ 3-point shooting, which is the strength of the team. North finished the game with a total of three treys.

After the first quarter, the Patriots' perimeter shooting also went cold. Because of that, they made a living of driving to the paint and picking up fouls.

PCW made 23-of-24 free throws for the game. That includes knocking down 20 in the second half alone to put the contest away.

Fields paced the Lady Timberwolves with 15 points. Whitney Wallenberg added nine points.

Constant led the Patriots with 18 points. She did the bulk of her work at the charity stripe as she hit 13-of-14 attempts.

Bert, who knocked down three 3-pointers, scored 17 points in the victory.

“I feel like a lot of teams will zone us just kind of by watching this film because we struggle a little bit from the field as far as shooting the ball,” Jefferson said. “But sometimes we can get hot. Like Bert, it was like an ocean out there for her (Saturday).

"We will see a zone and that's good for us right now, so we'll be prepared for it moving forward.”

Both Norman North (15-10) and Putnam City West (21-3) will advance to the area tournament. The Lady Timberwolves are now one loss away from their season coming to an end.

The Lady Patriots will face No. 2 ranked Edmond Memorial (20-4) in the area title game Thursday. The winner moves on to the state tournament while the loser drops to the consolation bracket.

Jefferson knows that if they are to claim a spot at state, the Patriots will have to play better than they did against North.

“I feel like we are meshing at the right time,” Jefferson said. “We're missing one of our starters, Jazmin Adams. She's out with a little injury, but we should have her back next week.

"I think we're starting to click at the right time.”