NORMAN — With the holiday break now behind them, Norman’s basketball teams are looking forward to finally entering a busy stretch of the season.
Due to the winter storms that blanketed the state last month, most of the city’s teams had played a bare minimum of games heading into the break. And while Norman North and Norman High’s girls both played in holiday tournaments, the boys had several weeks off.
Both teams focused on the basics during the break. For the T-Wolves, that meant bringing everyone up to speed and fixing some of the holes the ninth-ranked Timberwolves (5-1) needed to work on. For NHS, which has played just three games to this point, that time was used to work to build some continuity. But the one thing the Tigers (0-3) need most — to play games — is still a week away. Coach Matt Thornton said his team has the talent it needs to make a move late in the season once they become more comfortable.
“I think when we come back from the break and get some games in we’ll get going,” he said. “They’re going to be all right, we just need to play more games.”
On the girls’ side, both teams played in holiday tournaments and found some success.
Fourth-ranked North’s was the most pronounced. The Timberwolves (5-1) traveled to the prestigious Tournament of Champions in Tulsa and walked away the winners in a loaded field. In what has become a common theme, the T-Wolves used a balanced attack and a stout defensive effort to take out three teams ranked in the top five of their respective class, including Class 3A’s No. 1 Adair in the title game.
“It’s a big deal, and I’m really proud of them,” coach Blough said. “It’s an honor just to be invited to this tournament, and to do so well a great thing for our team.”
NHS didn’t walk away with the title at the tournament in Bartlesville, but the Tigers (1-5) did get some valuable experience for their young squad. That included freshman Bethany Franks, who turned in the best stretch of her young career by averaging 20 points through three games as she helped to lead the Tigers to their first win of the season.
The rest of the season will kick into high gear for all four teams next week. The NHS and North boys will be at the McGuinness tournament beginning on Thursday, while the NHS girls travel to Westmoore on the same day to compete in a tournament. The North girls have the longest wait, and won’t take the floor until a Jan. 14 games against Moore.
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