NORMAN — Norman High endured one of the worst starts imaginable in Tuesday’s Crosstown Clash. The Tigers fell behind 9-0 in the first four minutes and didn’t hit a field goal until the closing buzzer of the first quarter.
It was a nightmare start at home, but one that NHS fought through before storming back to take Norman North down to the wire.
But that was when the Timberwolves took over. They scored 16 straight points in the final five minutes to earn the 48-32 win and sweep the season series.
NHS closed the gap to eight at halftime and five after three before pulling to 32-30 with five minutes to play. But that was as close as the Tigers would get. North responded by holding NHS scoreless for the next four minutes as the T-Wolves went on a 16-2 run to close the game.
“It’s a maturation process,” North coach Jeff Blough said. “Last year maybe we not have responded like we did tonight. There was no panic. It was a good team win. In a rivalry game in this environment I’ll take it.”
Starting three freshmen against an experienced North squad that advanced to the state tournament a year ago, the Tigers came out like they were feeling the pressure. They turned the ball over four times in the first four minutes and didn’t get on the board until the 3:30 mark of the first quarter when senior Taylor Ely hit a pair of free throws.
Taking advantage, North built a 16-7 first-quarter lead behind a balanced attack. It was a lead the T-Wolves would need over the next two quarters, as Ely began hitting threes and NHS freshman Bethany Franks found success inside.
The duo combined for all but three of NHS’ points and kept the Timberwolves’ defense off guard. Ely finished with 17 points while Franks had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.