Booker T. Washington Peaking Before Jenks/Union Invitational

Booker T. Washington High School
Booker T. Washington has won its first 10 games of the season, Photo Courtesy: Booker T. Washington High School

When you think of Booker T. Washington basketball, you immediately think about the school’s terrific tradition, the multitude of state championships and the great individual talent.

Most of those great teams were led by a dominant big man. Wayman Tisdale, Richard Dumas, Ryan Humphrey.

The tallest two players on this year’s Hornet roster stand 6-4.

“In my 40 years of memory of Booker T. basketball, last year’s team and this year’s team are the smallest teams the school has ever had,” remarked head coach Eli Brown III.

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Despite the lack of size, this year’s Hornet squad has raced out to an impressive 10-0 start. They’ve done it with multiple scoring threats and good team chemistry.

“They’re super close,” claimed Brown. “They hold each other accountable and make sure each person is doing what they need to do to be successful. It’s paid dividends. Immensely. The chemistry is there. That’s been a huge factor in us winning.”

The Hornets may possess the top guard combination in the state. Seniors Kam Parker, Ijai Johnson and Aaron Potter provide an experienced backcourt. Parker and Johnson were both members of BTW’s 2019 state championship team. Potter is a transfer from Owasso.

Junior Lathan Boone, who’s also the Hornets starting quarterback, and senior Richard Wilson round out the undersized but talented starting five.

Senior Aaron Potter earned MVP honors at the recent Bartlesville Tournament, Photo Courtesy: Booker T. Washington High School

“What we talk about a lot is, you never know whose night it’s going to be,” said Brown, who’s in his second year coaching his alma mater following a 10-year stint at Tulsa Central. “You can’t be upset if you score 24 one night and you only get two the next night because someone else stepped up. We really try to stress those things.”

“When we play other teams, we want them to have to say, who do we stop?, added Brown. “You can’t stop all five or six of them. Pick your poison. That’s where we are with this group and so far, it’s been working.”

This week, the Hornets play Tulsa Union prior to participating in the 12th annual Jenks/Union Invitational Basketball Tournament. The tournament includes some tough competition and will provide BTW with a stiff test that will pay dividends come postseason time.

Photo Courtesy: Booker T. Washington High School

“Jenks and Union are in this tournament,” stated Brown. “Edmond Santa Fe is as well. It’s going to be tough. Ponca City, our first opponent, their record doesn’t speak enough about them. They’re tough too. There’s no easy games. You’re going to see championship-level games.”

“I just hope the kids continue to be hungry and continue to work hard and don’t get complacent and comfortable,” added Brown. “We still have a long way to go.”

The Jenks/Union Invitational takes place Thursday, January 20th through Saturday, January 22nd. Sixteen teams (8 boys, 8 girls) will compete for tournament titles. Early-round games will be played at Jenks’ Frank Herald Fieldhouse and the Union Multipurpose Activity Center. Championship and consolation games will be played at the Frank Herald Fieldhouse in Jenks on Saturday, January 22nd. Check here for more information on game times.

These Ford Games of the Week will be broadcast on Cox’s Yurview Channel 3 and 93. Cox customers can also watch the games for free on their phones using the Cox Contour App. Download the Contour App on Apple or Android.

Live streams and replays of all the tournament games will also be available to subscribe at watch.yurview.com and on Yurview apps (Google Play, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV).