NORMAN — For the third time this year Norman North squared off against Norman High. And for the third time, the T-Wolves came away victorious.
In a game every bit as tight and physical as expected, North held on late to earn a 43-33 win in the regional championship game of the Class 6A playoffs.
“It feels great,” North junior Bri Kuestersteffen said. “We beat them twice in the regular season and that was great, but this game meant something so it was even better.”
The game came as a surprise matchup since in terms of seeding NHS wasn’t expected to advance to Saturday, but the Tigers upset Midwest City on Thursday to continue their season against North. And, despite the loss, both teams will continue the postseason in the area tournament.
Not that either team was thinking about that on Saturday afternoon. After a lopsided North victory in the first Clash of the season and a narrow one a week ago, both teams entered the game expecting a “dogfight,” as North coach Jeff Blough put it.
And that was exactly what they got. At times hectic, with four turnovers in the game’s first five possessions, and other times methodical, with possessions taking a minute or longer, the game went back-and-forth in the first half. It also was a physical game that several times saw players get tangled up and tumble to the court.
“It was exactly what I expected,” Blough said. “Both teams wanted it badly.”
The Timberwolves may have wanted it a little bit more. They watched a video on Youtube of the Tigers celebrating in the North stands a year ago, something that Blough said was a big motivator.
“We came out focused and knew what we wanted to do,” he said. “And we played outstanding defense tonight.”