NORMAN — The kids are all right.
That’s where it begins with Friday night’s Crosstown Clash at Norman High, where the Timberwolves swept a pair of dandies, the girls outlasting NHS and the boys failing to give it away despite a slew of fourth-quarter turnovers.
Even in defeat, Nichole Copeland’s Tigers proved how far they’ve come in a season, losing because they’re not North’s equal, but not because they failed to play a good brand of ball.
The NHS boys may not want to hear it, but the nightcap was a similar story. First-year Tiger coach Matt Thornton’s team actually reminded of Jeff McCullough’s rookie season, three years ago, when the Tigers darn near overachieved all the way to the state tournament.
Still, though the NHS boys claimed a 20-point victory in the season’s first Clash, nobody should be shocked by North’s emergence since.
The male T-Wolves are the future of prep basketball in this town for at least the next three seasons and, if the current group develops coattails as some groups do, attracting talent and excitement in its wake, longer.
The future may not be now but it’s much closer than it was Dec. 20, the night the Tigers beat the T-Wolves 74-54 at the North Gym. Nonetheless, North’s 52-49 rematch triumph remained more a lesson in the possibilities than an eight-week road traveled.
Marcus Dickinson, all of 15, may just be a prodigy. The first question to North coach Butch Roberts was if he’s ever coached a player with a brighter basketball future than Dickinson and the answer was quick and it was “No.”
Better is the reason why the answer comes so easily, because it’s more about Dickinson and less about basketball. Because there’s at least one sportswriter in town tired of being called “Sir” by the North freshman. And because he gets his coach in a way most youngsters wouldn’t, particularly one as busily vocal as Roberts.