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Little All-City: Jett Sternberger and Kingfisher got defensive to reclaim title

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Oklahoma boys Little All-City and Super 5 team member Jett Sternberger, of Kingfisher, poses for a photo at The Oklahoman studio in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Thursday, March 28, 2019. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma boys Little All-City and Super 5 team member Jett Sternberger, of Kingfisher, poses for a photo at The Oklahoman studio in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Thursday, March 28, 2019. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Jett Sternberger wanted to flip the script.

Waiting inside the State Fair Arena locker room after a devastating loss to Heritage Hall in the championship game last year, Sternberger and his Kingfisher teammates were already plotting.

It was time to get back to basics.

“We came in thinking we couldn’t be beat,” Sternberger said. “That shot us in the foot.”

One year later and Sternberger and Kingfisher are back on top, taking down undefeated Heritage Hall in a ballyhooed matchup that was dominated by the Yellowjackets as they reclaimed the Class 4A title.

Sternberger, who averaged more than 16 points per game and was lights out from beyond the 3-point line, is The Oklahoman’s Little All-City Player of the Year.

“To bounce back like that against a rival like Heritage Hall felt amazing,” Sternberger said. “Going out on top and getting some some redemption. That was just an awesome feeling.”

Sternberger said the first step to Kingfisher’s second state title in school history was to ramp up the intensity on the defensive end.

Sternberger said he and his teammates relied too much on their offensive prowess and would sometimes slack on defense.

That changed this year.

Kingfisher played a swarming, opportunistic defense that gave up the fewest points to opposing teams in state tournament history as it held Elgin, Holland Hall and Heritage Hall to a combined 109 points.

In the title game against Heritage Hall, Kingfisher held the normal high-flying offense of the Chargers to just 39 points and smothered super sophomore Trey Alexander, limiting the Heritage Hall star to just 12 points.

“Shots aren't always falling but defense always travels,” Sternberger said. “We knew we could outscore anybody, but it's the fact of can we defend for 32 minutes that made the difference.”

Sternberger is heading to Rogers State for college, excited to showcase his skills at the next level.

But Sternberger said being able to end his Kingfisher career with one more title will stick with him the rest of his life.

“Everyday in practice we had that reminder that we lost to them and it was a bitter taste in your mouth,” he said. “Last year we were undefeated and they got us and then this year the roles were flipped and it was just a great way to go out.

“You could not write a better story.”

Adam Kemp

Adam Kemp is the Higher Education reporter for The Oklahoman and Newsok.com. Kemp grew up in Oklahoma City before attending Oklahoma State University. Kemp has interned for the Oklahoman, the Oklahoma Gazette and covered Oklahoma State Football... Read more ›

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