NORMAN — In the same game, the sixth-ranked Norman North girls proved just how good they can be and just how far they can still go.
They knocked off Edmond Memorial for the second time in eight days, 48-39, in the semifinal round of the East Central Oklahoma Classic at Ada High School because they shot the lights out, didn’t even miss from 3-point range and played strong enough defense to hold off the Bulldogs the rest of the way.
But it might have been different if the Bulldogs had ever caught fire because North allowed almost as many offensive boards as it pulled down on both ends.
“We didn’t talk as much in the second half,” North coach Jeff Blough said. “And when you don’t do that you give up offensive rebounds.”
The numbers from the game were from a different world.
The T-Wolves canned 65.3 percent (17 of 26) of their shots, 100 percent (5 of 5) of their 3-point tries but only 58.3 percent (7 of 12) from three-throw line.
Also, Memorial outrebounded North 28-16, and that came with a 14-1 edge on the offensive glass. North didn’t grab an offensive rebound until 10 seconds remained. Another stat-line the T-Wolves don’t want to repeat, the Bulldogs finished with 50 field goal attempts, 22 more than North. Good thing they only hit 15.
“We can all agree we didn’t finish the game as well as we started,” said North freshman forward Alexa Scott, who finished with 10 points and three rebounds.
Though, to be fair, that would have been a hard thing to do.
North hit 7 of 10 shots, four of them 3-pointers in the first quarter, establishing a 19-6 edge. Memorial never got the game any closer than nine points.
“Our team shot the ball well and we shared the ball well,” said point guard Bri Kuestersteffen, who matched Scott’s 10 points. “The points were all spread out.”
Kuestersteffen and Scott were the only T-Wolves to finish in double figures. Julian Mougell added eight points without a miss. Paige Canty finished with seven.
Memorial’s Andee Decker led both teams with 20 points. Jenny Ray was the most aggressive player on the floor for both teams, finishing with eight points and chasing down a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Bulldogs, for all their shots, only made 15 of them to shoot 30 percent. And they were far worse from distance, hitting 1 of 19 3-point attempts, only canning a first-quarter buzzer-beater from Decker.
Now 11-2 on the season, the T-Wolves will try to make it a dozen victories when they meet the Shawnee/Choctaw winner in today’s 7 p.m. championship.
The final moments of Norman North’s 49-38 victory were marred by an incident that could have repercussions for Edmond Memorial’s Andee Decker.
Inside the final minute, when Memorial was content to send the Timberwolves to the foul line, three Bulldogs surrounded North point guard Bri Kuestersteffen, who twisted and turned trying to maintain possession of the ball. A foul was called and about two seconds later, Decker found Kuestersteffen, got in her face and said, according to Kuestersteffen, “If you mess with my sister, I’ll come after you.”
Kasey Decker is also a Memorial player. Several on press row, maybe 10 feet away, watched Andee Decker confront Kuestersteffen, though nobody heard what was said.
As the game ended, Kuestersteffen said, Andee Decker, from behind, swung around Kuestersteffen’s head with a punch to her right eye. Kuestersteffen said she asked one of the referees, “Did you see that?,” only to have the official say, “’The game’s over.’”
As the two teams went through the handshake line. Kuestersteffen was one of the last T-Wolves to shake hands with Memorial coach Dandy Peeler. Kuestersteffen said Peeler said to her, “’I’m so sorry. I’ll deal with it.’”
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