OKLAHOMA CITY — After a sluggish first quarter in which the Tigers scored only eight points, they exploded in the second period to take a 31-14 halftime lead en route to a 60-38 win over Mustang. With the win Norman High advanced the Lady Jags’ Classic fifth place game, 3 p.m. today against Lawton Eisenhower.
As impressive as the scoring output was, it was Norman’s defense that set the tone for the game. They had the Broncos scrambling just to get the ball into their offensive sets against the pressure of Jandri Levi, Bethany Franks and Darienna Hunter.
“The defense helped us a lot when we got some steals,” Levi said. “That turned into transition layups.”
Mustang tried to feed Becca Hicks and Brooke Irwin in the post in the second half. But the Tigers surrounded them each time they got the ball and forced the Broncos to find other ways to score.
For Norman the second half was just a continuation of the first and Mustang had no answer. Franks scored 11 of her 17 points in the third period to put the game away.
Ely Taylor led all scorers with 23 points. That included going 12 for 12 from the free throw line. Hunter chipped in with 10.
“I thought that we played really well together,” NHS coach Nicole Copeland said. “Getting out in transition and making the extra pass and getting some easy layups. The first half started off sluggish again. When you are playing a team you know you have the upper hand, it’s important that you establish that early. I thought we did that.”
Laci Joyner paced the Broncos with six points.
“We played good,” Levi said. “We played more as a team than we usually are. We are playing faster now.”
Coming off a deflating loss to Carl Albert in the opening round, it wasn’t a sure thing the Tigers would be able to bounce back in time for their second round game against the Broncos.
“I think it means that we are starting to grow up,” Copeland said. “That was tough last night and they weren’t real happy about. They were pretty frustrated when they came in this morning. But to come out with that type of energy and recognize the opportunity that is before them. A lot of that is youth. A lot of that is growing up as well.”
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