– BY MICHAEL KNIGHT
The Tournament Of Champions begins on Thursday and runs until Saturday. OKPreps will once again be your home for TOC coverage of the 54th annual winter break classic. While OKPreps won’t have live broadcasts this season, our other coverage will continue to be the best in the state. In addition to game recaps, we’ll have highlights from every game, interviews, podcast content and breakdowns throughout the week. At the conclusion of the tournament, we’ll also have a tournament most outstanding player and an All Tournament Team. Get ready for the tournament on the boys’ side, which features four top ranked teams, with our in-depth preview, starting with a look at the schedule, a breakdown of each team and players to watch.
Fort Cobb-Broxton VS Putnam City West – 10:30AM
Booker T Washington VS Whitesboro – 1:30PM
Kingfisher VS Kingston – 5:30PM
Hugo VS Memorial – 8:30PM
BOOKER T WASHINGTON (4-1)
Ranked: #6 (6A)
Booker T Washington returns to the Tournament Of Champions for the second straight year. The Hornets are hopeful that this trip to the Mabee Center ends with a championship. They lost in the 6A state title game in 2017, finished fourth in the TOC last season and fell to Memorial in the 5A state title game back in March. The Hornets have one of the more talented lineup’s in the state but depth could become an issue if one or two of their stars get into foul trouble. They’ve won their last two outings after falling to Sapulpa on December 4th.
FORT COBB-BROXTON (9-2)
Ranked: #1 (A)
Fort Cobb-Broxton has a dynasty going in small school basketball. They’ve captured four consecutive state championships, the last three coming in Class A after winning in all in Class B to start this run. They’ve also had their fair share of success at the TOC. They went 3-3 in back to back trips in 2015 and 2016. Now they return and look to make some more noise against some of the big powers in Oklahoma. They’ll return to the court for the first time in nearly two weeks. They won a close one over Mangum back on December 14th.
Ranked: #5 (3A)
Hugo comes into this week’s Tournament Of Champions already with some success in tournament settings. They had a solid showing in the Durant Tournament earlier this month and the Buffaloes carry a four game winning streak into the TOC. They’ll have a tall task to avoid the consolation bracket when they open their tournament run against Memorial. The Chargers are very familiar with the Mabee Center and treat it like a second home. The TOC is all about the “David VS Goliath” match-up’s and Hugo is certainly David here.
Ranked: #1 (4A)
If you haven’t been paying close attention to Kingfisher the last few years, you might be surprised when they take the floor this week. The Yellowjackets are one of the best teams in Oklahoma, regardless of class and have the talent to play with any team in the state. That makes this trip to the TOC so exciting with the potential match-up’s for a Yellowjacket team that has blown out every team they’ve played. The closest game so far was an 18-point win over Tuttle. Don’t be surprised if Kingfisher contends for the TOC title this week.
Ranked: #1 (3A)
Kingston heads back to the Tournament Of Champions for the second straight year. They fell to Wright City in the fifth place game a year ago. With the majority of starters returning, the Redskins are determined to have a different finish this year. Kingston is undefeated heading into the TOC and they’ve been dominant so far in the early part of the season. They captured the OBU title with a win over Elgin. That 65-48 win over Elgin was the closest game they’ve played all season. Their first round clash with Kingfisher is the marquee match-up in the first round.
Ranked: #1 (5A)
We said that the Mabee Center has become a second home for Memorial and that absolutely is the case. The Chargers are regulars at the Tournament Of Champions and you can usually find them also playing on Championship Saturday in March. This will be the third straight TOC appearance and the fifth trip in the last six years. The Chargers have already tested themselves with a tough early schedule, so the competition they face over the next three days will be par for the course. Memorial beat rival Booker T Washington in the third place game a year ago.
PUTNAM CITY WEST (6-3)
Ranked: #5 (6A)
Putnam City West comes into the Tournament Of Champions after a great start in the first few weeks. However, the Patriots were upset by Putnam City and suffered a few losses in a tournament down in Florida last week. Despite that, PC West is still one of the top teams in Oklahoma and without a doubt one of the best teams in this tournament field. While other teams might not have played in a few weeks, PC West is coming off a tournament last week and travel across the country. The only concern the Pats might have this week is some fatigue.
Ranked: #11 (A)
Whitesboro heads into the Tournament Of Champions looking to pull off an upset or two. If Whitesboro ends up running into Fort Cobb-Broxton during the tourney, it might end up being a state tournament preview. Whitesboro has had a good start to their 2018-2019 campaign. One of their two losses came to Class B’s #1 Kinta. Whitesboro will face the toughest competition they’ll see all year during this three-day stretch but they’re hopeful it springs them into the rest of the season.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Bryce Thompson – Guard – Booker T Washington
Booker T Washington junior Bryce Thompson is arguably the most sought-after recruits in Oklahoma’s 2020 class. Thompson has grown his game over the summer and in the early part of this season. Thompson has become more physical and won’t shy away from contact when driving in the lane. He still has one of the best jumpers in the state, making him one of, if not the most dangerous scorer in Oklahoma right now.
Jacob Germany – Center – Kingston
Kingston’s Jacob Germany is the latest Oklahoma standout to end up signing with UTSA. Germany comes into this week’s Tournament Of Champions looking to completely dominate. He’s surrounded by some very talented guards which can make his job easy down in the post. Not many teams in the tournament field will be able to deal with Germany’s size, which will make him a problem throughout the week at ORU.
Jett Sternberger – Guard – Kingfisher
Kingfisher’s Jett Sternberger is in our opinion the most dynamic athlete in Oklahoma today. He’s one of the best quarterbacks in Oklahoma HS football and also is one of the top shooters in the state. Surrounded by talent, Sternberger still stands out as the leader for this Kingfisher team. When the Kingfisher senior is on from three-point range, he’s incredibly tough to slow down. And if you focus on stopping Sternberger, several other players will burn you.
Kalib Boone – Forward – Memorial
The Oklahoma State commit has turned into an absolute monster in the paint for the Chargers. Boone finishes at the rim and has become a double double machine. Kalib and twin brother Keylan have become two of the best defensive players in the state. While Keylan can shut players down on the dribble, Kalib sends back shots with regularity. Whether it’s Kalib or Keylan, get ready for a show from the Boones during the TOC.
Rondel Walker – Guard – Putnam City West
The hype has been around Putnam City West’s Rondel Walker for a few years now. However, he’s starting to put together all the pieces and most importantly, he’s healthy. Walker has had one of the best starts to the season by an individual this year. It’s still early on in the season, but if Walker keeps up his play throughout the season, he’ll start to rival Thompson as a can’t miss prospect in Oklahoma’s 2020 class.