The Norman Transcript

Local Sports

March 6, 2013

One-game-at-time approach has worked for Bears

NOBLE — The last time Noble won a playoff game, most of the players on the Bears’ hadn’t even been born.

The last playoff victory came in 1995, and the Bears’ goal all season was just to deliver another postseason win to their school. But thanks to a little bit of luck and plenty of clutch shots, this year’s squad has done much more than that, delivering an unexpected state tournament run.

Noble (14-13) will try to add to its storybook run with a 7 p.m. state quarterfinal contest on Thursday against Macarthur (17-8) at Skiatook. And like they have before every game in the last three weeks, senior Jared Palmer and the other three seniors on the team will huddle before the contest and remind each other it could be their last game.

“We’ve been telling each other, ‘If we’re going to go out, let’s make it good,’” Palmer said. “I’m just glad we get to go out and play another game.”

Palmer’s buzzer-beating heroics are one of the biggest reasons why the Bears were able to pull off several upsets on their way to the state tournament. But he’s not the only reason. Palmer’s overtime three-pointer against Coweta in the area consolation bracket earned the headlines and gave the Bears the unexpected win, but Devin Wheeler’s tough lay-up at the end of regulation put Noble into the extra period, and Wheeler was the one who found Palmer for the winning shot on a busted play.

“The play was to get it to Devin and let him make it happen,” Palmer said. “I never had any doubt that he would get up a shot. But when he fumbled it my instinct was just to move closer to him. He got it to me and I just put it up and it went in.”

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