NORMAN — It’s now do-or-die for Norman High, which must win out if the Tigers want to make it to the playoffs.
NHS (3-4, 1-3) came close but ultimately fell short to Southmoore on Friday, making a run to the playoffs as hard as possible with games against No. 6 Edmond Santa Fe and No. 3 Lawton left on the schedule.
There may be some good news for the Tigers, who will face Edmond Santa Fe (5-2, 3-1) on Friday. Wolves’ quarterback and Oklahoma commit Justice Hansen went out early of Friday’s game against Lawton with an ankle injury and didn’t return. He spent the night on crutches, and his status for this week isn’t yet known.
If Hansen is unable to go, the Tigers’ defense catches a break. Hansen is deadly with both his arm and his feet, and while his backup Keaton Torre performed well against Lawton, facing anyone other than Hansen would be a godsend in a must-win game for NHS.
Basquine bounces back: It’s tough to say Norman North wideout Nick Basquine had a down game two weeks ago against US Grant, since he only got to play on several drives before the backups took the field. But the senior did drop a pair of deep, open passes that likely would have went for touchdowns. For someone who has become the go-to receiver for the Timberwolves (5-2, 4-0), that can be considered a poor outing.
He made up for it on Friday night.
Playing just his second full game with quarterback John Kolar, Basquine was nearly flawless the 42-35 victory over Edmond North that put the Timberwolves in command of the District 6A-3 title race. He caught seven passes for 183 yards and a touchdown. He also proved that the deep-ball threat he established with David Cornwell under center before the Alabama commit was lost for the season isn’t going anywhere. Against the Huskies, Basquine caught three passes for more than 50 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter that put the Timberwolves back on top.
Entering the season, North’s receiving corps was unproven after the loss of several big-name players a season ago. But the Timberwolves have reloaded on the outside thanks in large part to Basquine.
“Nick’s got some unbelievable hands,” Kolar said of his favorite target after Friday’s game. “You put the ball on him and he’ll catch it in any situation.”
Around the state: Last week brought an impressive slate of big games and also delivered some upsets, shaking up the top 10.
The most-hyped game in the state was No. 1 Jenks’ trip to fifth-ranked Westmoore, one that unfortunately was marred by the cold, rainy weather that presided over all of Friday’s game. The conditions kept Westmoore from fully utilizing its potent passing attack, and the Trojans used the power run game to slowly take over the contest.
Likewise, third-ranked Lawton’s trip to No. 6 Edmond Santa Fe lost some of its luster when Wolves’ quarterback and Oklahoma commit Justice Hansen went down with an ankle injury on the game’s first drive.
Down the rankings, Bixby continued its surprising run this season with another victory, and figures to be Jenks’ next major challenge when the two teams meet in Week 9. And Booker T. Washington moved into the top 10 after a surprise upset over No. 7 Owasso.
Norman North moved from No. 8 to No. 6 after holding on to defeat Edmond North.
Youth served: The key player in Southmoore’s run to the state fastpitch title was obviously Katelyn Brown. Not only did the senior do it on the mound by allowing only seven earned runs the entire season, but she was the team’s top hitter.
However, behind Brown was a large freshman class who made their mark on the season. Freshman such as Trenity Edwards, Sydney Sherrill and Lindsey Stoeckal were on the field in the title game and made key plays capture the championship.
With nine freshman on this year’s varsity roster, the sky could be the limit for the SaberCats in the future.
“I think it’s good because we made history,” Stoeckal said. “And knowing a lot of freshman start is a good thing. I ‘m happy we got it for Katelyn Brown because its her senior year and she deserves it. We have to keep getting better. We have to step it up a notch.”
The starting pitchers in the championship game were Jenna Lynn and Brown. The two seniors performed at another level this year as they combined more than 40 wins and only four losses.
Lynn and Brown will both see their pitching careers continue at the next level. Brown has committed to play for Southern Nazarene while Lynn is headed to Oklahoma Baptist.
“Through four years she has grown and matured,” Moore coach Stephanie Riley said. “She is moving onto the next level to play at OBU. I’m very proud of what she has done for the team.”
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