EDMOND — Before Norman High tipped off against Edmond Memorial on Saturday, coach Nichole Copeland told her team they had every excuse to not play well. They didn’t play on Tuesday. They missed school due to snow for several days. They were playing an early afternoon game. She also told them none of those excuses mattered and that the Tigers needed a win.
NHS upset No. 14 Edmond Memorial, 55-50, on Saturday in a game that was played a day late due to the winter weather.
It was a gritty and much-needed win for the Tigers, who are playing for seeding when regional pairings are released next week. And it was a win that didn’t come easily. The Tigers fought back from an early deficit to take control of the game and then came out on top after a back-and-forth second half that saw the lead change hands multiple times.
“I think it shows we’re starting to grow up and figure things out,” coach Nichole Copeland said. “There were a million different excuses to not play well, but the truth is you just have to come out and play.”
The last time the two teams met the Tigers allowed the Bulldogs to pull in 17 offensive rebounds and steal the game. That was a focus on Saturday, and after a rough start in that department the Tigers turned it into a strength. They fell behind in the first quarter after Edmond Memorial scored 11 of its 16 first-quarter points from offensive rebounds or turnovers.
But the NHS defense changed the game in the second quarter. The Tigers stopped giving up offensive rebounds and clamped down on a Bulldogs’ offense that was playing without Andee Decker, who sat most of the quarter with two fouls. After a string of Edmond Memorial turnovers and three straight 3-pointers from Taylor Ely, the Tigers found themselves on top, 27-20, at the break.