NORMAN — Before Friday’s game against No. 7 Edmond Memorial, Norman North coach Jeff Blough knew his team needed to play well to pull off the upset. And he knew that a strong game from 6-3 center Julian Mougell would go a long way toward doing that.
Mougell, who after playing AAU ball during the summer returned much improved this season, had fallen into a bit of a slump in the last few weeks. Blough said before Friday’s game he would try to “get her on a roll again,” and encourage the T-Wolves to exploit her size advantage inside.
It was a plan that worked well against the Bulldogs. Mougell, who split minutes with freshman Alexa Scott, finished with eight points, six rebounds, and a pair of assists and blocks.
“Julian did a lot better tonight,” Blough said after the game. “She was more aggressive offensively and made a lot of plays on the defensive end.”
Showdown set for Monday: Both Norman North squads played against top-10 teams in Edmond Memorial on Friday. The schedule doesn’t get any easier as the T-Wolves travel to Midwest City on Monday for a pair of games that were originally scheduled for the beginning of the season.
Originally scheduled to be the season opener on Nov. 30, the games were delayed due to the football team’s run to the state championship.
Against Midwest City, the girls play the state’s fifth-ranked team, while the boys square off against the undefeated and No. 1 Bombers.
“Win or lose, you hope your kids use it as a measuring stick for where they are,” coach Butch Roberts said. “Either they play well and see where they need to improve or they take it as a slap in the face that they have a long way to go.”
Ely’s return tentatively set for next week: NHS junior Taylor Ely missed Friday’s game with a sprained ankle, but the Tigers’ leading scorer may return to the lineup as soon as Thursday.
Ely was injured during the final game of the Ardmore tournament a week ago, and has been slow to get back on the floor. It was her first major ankle sprain and coach Nichole Copeland is being cautious with her return.
That means Ely could see some time this weekend when the Tigers travel to the Westmoore tournament. But Copeland plans on being careful not to bring her back too soon.
“She may get some minutes on Thursday or Friday,” Copeland said. “She twisted it pretty good, so we want to be sure she’s completely over it first.”
Sophomore steps up for NHS: Channah Cox, the younger sister of NHS senior Bethany Cox, has seen limited minutes so far this season. But with two starters out Friday against Class 5A’s sixth-ranked Del City, she earned the first start of her career and made the most of the opportunity.
Cox finished with 15 points, second only to her older sister’s 20. More importantly, her energy in the starting lineup was clearly felt, as the Tigers jumped out to an early 10-point lead and took a 23-12 lead into halftime.
“She did a really nice job of attacking their zone,” coach Nichole Copeland said. “It was a nice job by her stepping in and playing well for us.”
Cheerleaders awarded rings: The Norman North cheerleading squad was honored on Friday for their accomplishments this season.
After winning regionals, the T-Wolves cheer squad continued their winning ways in the state tournament at the end of September, winning the Class 6A state title. The team received its rings in a ceremony at halftime of the girls’ game against Edmond Memorial.
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com