“We came in with a really good gameplan, but they did a good job adjusting and we were slow to handle that,” NHS coach Matt Thornton said. “We also started missing some shots. But I’m proud we fought back and got it to a two-possession game. This team didn’t quit, just like they didn’t quit all season.”
Senior John Michael Benardello led NHS with 17 points, while junior Cooper Clark, who was flanked all night by Moore’s Eric Blankenship, had 13 while struggling from the field. He also contributed seven points and five assists.
NHS finishes its year 5-20, a record that would lead many people to label the season a disappointment. But Thornton doesn’t see it that way. Not only did the Tigers — led by seniors Michael Patterson, Desmond Oguno, Pablo Fisher, Michael Kish, John Michael Benardello, Julian Perriott, Blake Hardman, and Zach Hogue — advance further into the playoffs than anyone expected by shocking the state with their win over Edmond Santa Fe, but they struggled through the ups and downs of the year without ever giving up on the season.
“These seniors, they’re great character kids,” Thornton said. “You never had to worry about them doing what they were supposed to do. A lot of people focus on the wins and losses, but the most important thing is to help them grow into young men, and I’m proud that we did that.”
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