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January 23, 2013

Jaguars use late run to defeat Tigers

NORMAN — When Norman High and Westmoore faced off a month and a half ago in the championship game of the Durant tournament, no one knew what that game held in store. The classic that ensued, capped off by Jay Finley’s eight straight points in overtime to give the Tigers the victory.

Unfortunately for NHS, the Tigers didn’t have Finley for Tuesday night’s game. When Westmoore went on a 5-0 run in the game’s final minutes, the Tigers could have used his heroics.

Instead, Westmoore made the big shots late and locked down Sam Blodgett on the game’s final possessions to hang on for a 55-48 win in the rematch.

Blodgett was dominant inside for most of the game, but the Jaguars clamped down on him late and kept the ball out of his hands, most importantly on the Tigers’ last possession when they tried for 45 seconds with the clock running out to feed him the ball.

It was the opposite of the first half, when point guard Daniel Harper and Blodgett were able to run the pick and roll nearly to perfection, netting Blodgett open layups and the guards open looks outside.

But the Jaguars made the necessary adjustment at halftime, rotating another defender to cover the paint and opening themselves up to the outside shot. And, while the Tigers had some success, their four made three-pointers were a far cry from the dozen they had on Friday against Moore.

“They bottled us up and kept us from doing what we wanted to do,” coach Matt Thornton said. “And they made the plays down the stretch. It was just one of those nights we couldn’t put the ball in the hole.”

Especially at the end of the game. NHS was up 48-47 with three minutes left in the game, but the Tigers wouldn’t score again while Westmoore’s stronger guards were able to push that advantage to score several easy layups inside. That put NHS behind, and the Tigers came up empty on their last four possessions of the game.

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