By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
The 2016-2017 high school basketball season is finally here as the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) has posted the official Week 1 rankings. Here's the breakdown on what to expect this season as well as our Editorial Board's picks for the week one games.
No. 1 Edmond North Huskies
The Huskies finished last season with a 27-1 record, going undefeated all season before falling in the State Semi Finals 80-61 to eventual champion Putnam City West, whom they had previously defeated 72-55 just a week prior. Edmond North graduated three of their top five scorers from last season, but return Oklahoma Baptist commit Harrison Stoddart and Lehigh commit Marques Wilson. The Huskies also picked up three quality transfers in Damion Thornton, formerly of U.S. Grant, and Marvin Johnson and Carlos Coppage, both formerly of 5A No. 9 Ardmore. They won't be starting off with any lightweights. The Huskies will kick the season off on the 29th against No. 3 Norman North.
The pick: Edmond North 74 Norman North 72
No. 2 Midwest City Bombers
Midwest City fell just short of the State Tournament last year, but finished with a respectable 22-4 record, losing only to State Qualifying teams. The Bombers graduated two of their top-five scorers from last season, but return three juniors including the explosive Keyshawn Embery. They will start things off on the 29th with No. 13 Putnam City.
The pick: Midwest City 82 Putnam City 70
No. 3 Norman North Timberwolves
The number three spot goes to last year's State Runners-Up who finished 24-4 after losing by a single point in the Finals. The Timberwolves lost only three games to in-state teams, all ranked in the top-ten. They graduated three of their top-five scorers, but retained Iowa State football recruit Charlie Kolar and Trae Young, the point guard ranked number two in the nation by ESPN who averages 33 points per game.
No. 4 Union Redskins
Union qualified for State last year but fell to Putnam West in the opening round. The Redskins went 22-5, including a fifteen-game winning streak before falling 50-46 to the eventual State Champions. Union returns four of their top five scorers and will take on unranked Bartlesville December 6th.
No. 5 Putnam City West Patriots
The returning State Champions graduated two of their leading scorers after finishing last season 24-5, and return three starting seniors. The Patriots will start the season this Friday at the Nike Thanksgiving Hoopfest in Dallas, then will take on unranked Enid on the 29th.
The pick: PCW 76 Enid 45
No. 6 Edmond Santa Fe Wolves
The Wolves are looking good this year, returning four of their top-six scorers from last season, with the addition of first-year head coach Josh Williams. Last year they went 16-11 and fell to Putnam North in Area. Of those eleven losses, six were to top-five teams. Williams spent the last five seasons at No. 12 Edmond Memorial as an assistant, and helped the Bulldogs to four State Tournament appearances with one Title and one Runner-Up performance. He will return to Memorial on the 29th for Edlam to start the season.
The pick: ESF 78 EDM 76
No. 7 Booker T. Washington Hornets
Booker T. has lost senior forward Tariq Bitson, but returns an otherwise salty team that went 19-8 last season for a State Tournament performance. The Hornets swept the Green Country Conference Championship last season, which features mostly 5A teams, but performed well on the 6A circuit as well before falling 73-67 to Edmond North in the opening round at State. They will kick the season off on the 29th against 5A No. 8 Edison Prep.
The pick: BTW 66 Edison 50
No. 8 Westmoore Jaguars
Westmoore returns a young but talented team after going 14-10 last season and falling at Regionals. The Jags graduated only one of their top-six scorers, and return four sophoomres and a junior to anchor a team that will be looking sharp for seasons to come. Of their eight in-state losses, nine were to top-ten teams. They will start the season on the 29th at unranked Southmoore.
The pick: Westmoore 72 Southmoore 52
No. 9 Putnam City North Panthers
Putnam North finished last season 19-9 with a State Tournament appearance, but took a heavy blow in graduating SNU freshman Micah Speight, who also had an offer from ORU. They return four of their top-five scorers and will start the season on the 29th with a home game against 5A No. 6 Bishop McGuinness. McGuinness finished last season 9-13, splitting wins with the Panthers, and falling at Regionals. Despite their record, the Fighting Irish are not to be trifled with. Six of those losses were to top-ten teams and all but one were ranked. They even came within three points of beating No. 1 Eisenhower.
The pick: PCN 68 McGuinness 54
No. 10 Broken Arrow Tigers
Broken Arrow had a rough season last year, finishing 9-17, then graduated three of their top five scorers. They retained ESPN Sports Center top-ten playmaker Caleb Huffman, who led the team overall but will need to bolster their ranks if they want to make it past Area this year. The Tigers will start the season December 2nd against 5A unranked Bishop Kelley.
No. 11 Yukon Millers
Yukon returns a highly experienced team with all five of their leading scorers in tact. The Millers went 11-13 last season with only one loss to an unranked team. They will start the season on the 29th against unranked Moore.
The pick: Yukon 65 Moore 50
No. 12 Edmond Memorial Bulldogs
The dogs finished last season 18-9 with a State Tournament appearance, but graduated two of their top-five scorers, including Oklahoma University freshman Kristian Doolittle.
No. 13 Putnam City Pirates
Putnam City finished last year 14-12, falling at Area 97-60 to Edmond Memorial. Since then they have graduated their top-two scorers.
No. 14 Owasso Rams
Owasso finished last season 19-8 with an overtime loss to Booker T. at Area. They lost two of their top scorers in Kinzer Lambert and Rogers State freshman DeShannon Lowe, but return Josh Proctor, Jake Thompson, and Courte Alexander. They will kick off the season December 6th against unranked Muskogee.
The pick: Owasso 74 Muskoge 62
No. 15 (tie) Lawton Wolverines
The Wolverines ended last year with a 44-34 loss to Southmoore at Area to finish the season 10-15 . They graduated three of their top five scorers and will begin the season December 6th against Midwest City.
No. 15 (tie) Norman Tigers
Norman finished last season 3-21 after a 91-33 loss to Mustang at Regionals, but looks to rebuild under former Midwest City State Championship coach Rodney Dindy.
No. 17 Jenks Trojans
The Trojans are coming off a 12-11 season with a 72-63 loss to Edmond Santa Fe at Regionals. They graduated three of their top scorers and will kick off the season December 6th against Sapulpa.
No. 18 Sapulpa Chieftains
Sapulpa had a solid season last year, finishing 19-7 after a 68-59 loss to Edmond Santa Fe at Area. The Chieftains lost three big scorers from last season, but return their top two in Keenan Balance and Julian Smith.
No. 19 Sand Springs Sandites
Charles Page High School had a rough go last year, staring the season with seven-straight wins and ending with five-straight losses to finish 14-10 after an overtime loss to Broken Arrow at Regionals. They looked good coming into the new season without graduating a single starter, only to lose leading-scorer Brooks Haddock on a transfer to unranked Muskogee. They still return four solid scorers and several talented younger players and will kick off the season on the 29th at unranked Bartlesville.
The pick: Sand Springs 66 Bartlesvile 64
No. 20 Ponca City Wildcats
Ponca City finished last year 4-19 with an 84-50 loss to Norman North at Regionals. They lose top scorer Conner Larson, but return Stetson Roubedeaux and Brice McDougal. They will start the season on December 8th at the Harrah Tournament.