The Norman Transcript

December 4, 2013

First few tournaments on ice

By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — The weather has done more than just postpone the OSSAA’s championship football games. It’s also forced the cancellation of several basketball tournaments this weekend.

The Norman High boys and Norman North girls were scheduled to travel to Durant to participate in the first tournament of the season, but won’t make the drive after tournament officials canceled the games. Likewise, the Norman freshman tournament has been canceled. Neither tournament is expected to be rescheduled.

The Class 6A championship football game between Jenks and Tulsa Union, originally scheduled for tonight at Oklahoma State University, has been moved to Dec. 12 at the University of Tulsa.

Wrestling season kicks off: One event that hasn’t yet been postponed is the start of the wrestling season for NHS and North.

NHS will open its season at Southmoore tonight, while North will travel to face Moore.

Both programs have several top wrestlers back. For North, that means defending state champion Levi Berry, while NHS brings back several strong seniors including football transfers Cade Parker and Cale Stumpff, who qualified for the state meet a year ago.

“My goal this year is to place at state,” Stumpff said. “I’m really excited to start the season, get in shape and get back on the mat.”

Young lineup brings pros, cons: North’s new basketball coach Bryan Merritt knows just how explosive his team can be. The T-Wolves started two sophomores and a freshman in Tuesday night’s overtime loss to defending state champion Edmond Memorial. But the game also showed him how far they have to go.

The Timberwolves played fast but loose. They turned the ball over 21 times and shot just nine free throws to the Bulldogs’ 33, mistakes that caught up to them as Edmond Memorial erased a nine-point deficit to come back and win the game.

“There were a lot of self-inflicted wounds,” Merritt said. “We were too loose with the ball. When you get a lead you’ve got make the other team have to make great plays to catch you. We didn’t do that.”

It was an especially rough debut for freshman sharpshooter Trae Young, who hit just one shot in the game. Such bumps are expected this season for a young T-Wolves team, but North also showed how potent it can be. The Timberwolves controlled the tempo of the game and forced the Bulldogs into 14 turnovers of its own. And between the penetration of sophomore point guard Marcus Dickinson, the shooting ability of Young and sophomore Lindy Waters, and the inside presence of seniors Kairo Rutledge and Payton Prince, the Timberwolves present a balanced attack that few other teams can boast.

“We have good players,” Merritt said. “The biggest challenge we have right now is creating a cohesive group.”

NHS freshman impressive in debut: Norman High fell to Westmoore in its season opener, but freshman Bethany Franks showed just how dangerous she will be this season.

Franks, standing six feet tall as a freshman, led the Tigers with 22 points, carving up the Westmoore defense in her first high school game. Bethany is the younger sister of Jordan Franks, who graduated from NHS last year.

Norman alums win national title: Former Norman cross country stars now have a national championship to their names.

Mackenzie Wahpepah-Harris and Kyle Wardwell, NHS and North graduates respectively, recently won the NAIA national championship as teammates at Oklahoma City University.

The Stars easily bested the rest of the field, winning the championship by 47 points over Southern Oregon. Wahpepah-Harris finished 25th individually while Wardwell finished 38th.

Corbin Hosler

Follow me @Chosler88

chosler@normantranscript.com

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