Claros sent Jacob Jerles from the forward line to the back in place of Gann and started Ethan Dvorak in the midfield for Johnson. Jerles was replaced up front by Gibbs.
It all worked.
“I felt like we were the better team going into it,” North coach Geo Claros said.
Even shorthanded, that seemed clear.
The T-Wolves outshot the Rams 13-6 and 8-3 before the half. They owned possession over the first 40 minutes and may have split it afterward.
All told, the Rams (12-1) had two quality chances all night.
The first came on a counter with 22 minutes remaining when Kris Kokis gathered the ball with space and a head of steam, carrying it from not quite midfield all the way into the North box before dumping it off to Jacob Rector, who put it past North keeper Daniel Taylor.
The other came with about 2 minutes remaining when a scramble near the net left Taylor exposed and the ball on the head of Owasso’s Caleb Partin. Partin, though, wasn’t quite in position to square his body and headed it wide.
That was it for the Rams, who failed to turn their possession into the same opportunities North was able to earn on the other end.
“We just kept our game,” T-Wolves senior defender Curtis McRae said. “They just kept coming and coming and coming, but we defended real well.”
It was a little bit like the Clash quarterfinal, when NHS found its game after the half, but only a little.
“In a game like that, you’re going to have to weather a storm,” Claros said. “It just goes with having to win a semifinal. They’re going to throw everything they can at you.”
It wasn’t enough.
Saturday, North plays for another championship.
Follow me @clayhorning