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Soaring into the record books

November 21, 2021 - 00:00
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Sternberger torches nets, breaks 64-year-old record in SEOSU home opener

  • Soaring into the record books
    RECORD BREAKER – Jett Sternberger glides to the bucket during Southeastern Oklahoma State’s 128-70 win over Arlington Baptist. The 2019 Kingfisher High School graduate set a school and conference record with 55 points in his first game on his home cou

As he was warming up, Jett Sternberger had no idea it was going to be a record night.

“I kind of felt out of my flow,” Sternberger said.

“I guess I just like to save my makes for the game.”

Did he ever…and in record fashion.

Sternberger torched the nets for 55 points Wednesday as Southeastern Oklahoma State defeated Arlington Baptist 128-70 in the Savage Storm’s home opener at Bloomer Sullivan Arena in Durant.

His total broke Southeastern’s 64-year-old record for points in a game. The mark of 54 points was set by Jerry Shipp in 1957.

Sternberger’s total also broke the single-game record for the Great American Conference. That record of 48 was held by Southeastern’s Anton Cooks since 2017.

Despite not “feeling it” as the teams ran through their pre-game drills, Sternberger didn’t take long to warm up after the opening tip.

He made a 3-pointer just 41 seconds into the game and then three straight for the Savage Storm over a span of just 1:10 early in the half as his squad built up a 10-point lead.

By halftime, Sternberger had 30 points, which included seven 3-pointers.

The sophomore then made a trey to open the second half as he began to chase down the records.

He ended his night 18 of 25 from the field, including 12 of 18 from 3-point range. He also made all seven of his foul shots and added six rebounds, a steal and an assist.

The 12 3-pointers also broke the school record (10 set by Jett Jobe in 2019) and tied the GAC mark (Alex Brown of Arkansas Tech in 2018).

“That’s a feeling I can’t describe,” Sternberger said of catching fire during the game.

“After each shot, the basket just kept getting bigger and bigger.”

Such a phenomenon isn’t new to Sternberger.

He left Kingfisher in 2019 as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,037 points.

He was named the Class 4A state tournament’s most valuable player in both 2017 and 2019 as he helped guide the Yellowjackets to their first two boys basketball state championships.

Known for his relentless work ethic, Sternberger was a part of 103 wins, which was a record at the time.

His final two years, during which KHS went 56-2 and played in two state finals, help set up the likes of Bijan Cortes, Matthew Stone and Jarret Birdwell to break that mark last year.

Sternberger signed to play at Rogers State University, then opted to transfer to Southeastern after last season.

The Savage Storm split games with Minnesota State University Moorhead and Wayne State College to open the season Nov. 12-13 in Shawnee.

Wednesday was Sternberger’s home debut.

The game, said Sternberger, was a result of the time he puts in the gym and the belief Southeastern head coach Kelly Green shows in him.

“One thing about Southeastern is Coach Green instills confidence in you as long as you put in the work,” Sternberger said. “It helps having that on your side.

Those games just go to show that you get out what you put in to this game.”

He was also quick to give credit to the rest of the Savage Storm.

Guard Adam Dworsky recorded 14 assists, many of them to Sternberger.

“My teammates did a great job knowing I had the hot hand and getting me the ball,” he said. “I think Adam’s 14 assists goes unnoticed.”

Southeastern returns to the court Tuesday and Wednesday at the Double-Tree Thanksgiving Classic in Springfield, Mo.

No matter what happens then - or the rest of the season - Sternberger will always have Wednesday night.

The record books will prove it.

“The feeling of knowing my name is in the record books is one I’ll cherish forever,” he said. “The people in my corner have helped me work at this game all my life and tonight shines a light on that moment.

“I really can’t express how grateful I am for this moment and the people around me.”