NORMAN — It wasn’t a perfect winning effort by Norman High on Tuesday night. But the important thing for the Tigers is that it was a winning effort.
NHS defeated Moore 48-30 in the Tigers’ home opener, and the win gave NHS its first victory of the season after a season-opening loss to Southmoore on Friday. In that game the Tigers gave up 29 offensive rebounds, something coach Nichole Copeland stressed to her team before Tuesday’s game.
“Obviously that was a focus for us tonight, and you could tell it was a point of emphasis on the floor,” she said. “We did a better job blocking out and securing the ball.”
NHS opened the game by playing its best defense of the young season. The Tigers slowed the Moore offense to a crawl, forcing a number of mistakes and holding the Lions scoreless for the first seven minutes of the game. Amanda Patterson hit a pair of free throws to put Moore on the board, but the Lions still didn’t hit their first field goal until two minutes into the second quarter, at which point NHS had a 14-6 lead.
But the Tigers were unable to pull away in the first half, largely due to their struggles in finishing plays. They missed a number of open shots or short baskets, and turned the ball over five times in the first quarter alone.
“We had lots of unnecessary movement in the paint when all they had to do was catch the pass and shoot it,” Copeland said. “We put the ball on the floor and gave up points that way. It didn’t hurt us tonight, but we won’t have that luxury against every team we play. They need to understand how important every one of those possessions is.”
Taylor Ely led NHS with 15 points and 10 rebounds to record a double-double, while Bethany Cox added 10 points and six boards. Copeland also was pleased with the play of junior point guard Chandler Coale, who finished with eight points.