MIDWEST CITY — Even up 13-6 midway through the first quarter, Norman High coach Matt Thornton saw trouble brewing. After watching Enid score an easy basket in transition, he called a timeout and loudly implored his team to wake up.
It didn’t work. Even after holding a lead that got as high as 12 points, the Tigers were unable to keep up the effort and allowed Enid back into the game and eventually gave them a 53-52 win.
It was a sloppy and ugly game. Both teams turned the ball over 16 times and made questionable decisions throughout, possibly a side effect of playing the 10:30 a.m. game for seventh place.
Still, NHS put itself in a position to win until its second late-game breakdown in three days. Just like in Thursday’s come-from-ahead loss to Putnam City North, the Tigers held a sizable lead in the third quarter and were still ahead late in the game before allowing the opposing team to take the lead.
On Saturday it was Enid’s Jemarcus Jackson and Correll Baker who led the way. Jackson had 14 points, 12 rebounds and hit a number of big shots late, while Baker added 13, including a pair of free throws with 45 seconds left that gave End its first lead of the game.
It was enough to offset another huge game from Sam Blodgett. Playing with a dozen stitches above his eye from a cut sustained on Thursday, the senior scored 24 points and added seven rebounds against an Enid squad that had no answer for him inside.
But it wasn’t enough for the Tigers, who lost their third game in as many days after losing Jay Finley to a stress fracture last week.
“We just didn’t finish the game,” coach Matt Thornton said. “We got up big and we just quit playing at times.”
The Tigers will have some time in the gym to set things straight. They don’t play again until Friday, when they will travel to Del City to face a squad that beat them 62-53 on Friday.
The good news for NHS is that, while the Tigers didn’t play particularly well over the weekend, they weren’t bad either. They were able to amass large leads against both Putnam City North and Enid and were able to keep up with Del City’s frenetic pace and aggressive defense.
The problem was they weren’t able to do it for four quarters; a problem Thornton said has plagued his team all season.
“We’ve played really well at times, but we’ve played really bad at times as well,” he said. “We don’t have any consistency yet. It’s not a lack of effort or experience any more, we’ve just got to find a way to be more consistent.”
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com