Special to The Sun
NORMAN — The third time looked like it’d be the charm for the Edmond Santa Fe boys.
After dropping both regular-season meetings against No. 2-ranked Putnam City, the Wolves had a chance to even the score and punch a ticket to state Saturday in the Class 6A Area consolation finals.
Through the first 28 minutes, it looked like the Wolves would do just that. The final five minutes told a different story.
Putnam City dialed up the defensive intensity late in the fourth and rallied for a 67-59 victory at Norman North High School.
“We just hit a stretch where they did a good job of pressuring us and getting some easy turnovers,” Santa Fe coach Lenny Hatchett said. “We’re probably a charge here or there to turn the game around. And they made plays when they needed to, and we didn’t.”
Santa Fe pulled in front late in the first quarter and did not trail until the final minutes of the game. David Bush lifted the Pirates on top after he stole the ball at the perimeter and was fouled on a fast break. The senior hit both free throws, making it a 56-54 PCO lead with 3:19 left.
Putnam City continued to roll with pressure on the perimeter and inside. The Pirates used a 14-1 run to open a double-digit lead at 65-55 with under a minute to play.
Curran Scott and Jaylin Johnson added a couple late scores for Santa Fe, making it a 67-59 final.
“After the game, I just told our guys that I’m so proud of them and I know we’ll continue with the tradition that Santa Fe has built,” Hatchett said. “We need some time to heal, but we’ll get over it.”
The loss snaps Santa Fe’s streak of five consecutive trips to the state tournament.
Senior Kade Jacobs scored 15 points on five 3-pointers to lead the Wolves. Scott finished with 12 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, while senior Dashon Bell scored nine in his final high school game.
The Wolves led by a point at the end of the first quarter and took a 34-30 advantage at the break.
That margin continued to grow in the third. Jacobs hit back-to-back 3-pointers in front of his team’s bench, pushing the Wolves’ lead to 42-34 midway through the period.
Richmarr Smith helped the Pirates snap out of the funk with six quick points, making it a 48-44 game heading into the fourth.
Putnam City scored 23 points in the fourth to earn their sixth straight state appearance.