MIDWEST CITY — Norman High’s young team has played games in the past few weeks that have shown how far they’ve come since the season began. Tuesday night against No. 9 Midwest City, the Tigers found out exactly how far they have to go.
The Bombers jumped out early on the Tigers on Tuesday and never looked back as NHS looked lethargic in the second half as Midwest City ran away to a 60-35 victory.
“This is the first game all year we didn’t have any fight,” coach Nichole Copeland said. “No one wanted a piece of them and to step up and do what it took on defense.”
The result was Midwest City senior Jasauen Beard running away with the game. The senior finished with 30 points and six rebounds and dominated the game every time she stepped on the floor. The Tigers tried rotating several defenders on her, but none were effective and there were several plays where Beard went coast-to-coast unguarded.
It was a lackluster effort for NHS (2-7), which could never mount a serious comeback attempt against the Bombers (6-1) and turned in its worst defensive performance of the season. Taylor Ely led the Tigers with 18 points and four rebounds, while Bethany Franks had 11 points and four boards. Franks had some success in the paint early, but as the game went on the Bombers’ size allowed them to dominate the lane. Midwest City outrebounded NHS 33-22 and were able to bully the Tigers for position inside on every almost every possession.
The Tigers stuck within striking distance early, but several missed layups kept them from ever coming closer than six points in the second quarter. Midwest City then went on a 10-2 run to close out the half up 30-18.
The Bombers put it out of reach early in the second half. They picked up the defensive pressure and forced NHS into a string of three straight turnovers, part of 16 NHS giveaways on the night. That allowed Midwest City to outscore NHS 14-4 in the period and put away the game.
“If we don’t miss those early layups, then maybe we get some confidence going and it’s a different game,” Copeland said. “We can’t make those mistakes. But besides that, it really wasn’t our offense that was the issue tonight. It was a lack of heart on defense.”
Things won’t get any easier for NHS, with a matchup with No. 7 Southmoore on Friday looming. With that in mind, Copeland said the Tigers would go back to the basics in practice.
“Obviously we weren’t ready to play tonight, and I take that responsibility on myself,” she said after the game. “But that changes tomorrow. We’re going to work on defense. We’re going to work on hitting layups going full speed. We’re going to get it fixed.”
Midwest City 74, Norman High boys 49: The Bombers kept running at the Tigers, then making substitutions and running some more. And eventually, the Tigers ran out, as the high-pressure Bombers defeated NHS 74-49.
Third-ranked Midwest City (11-1) led from the start, as Cedric Fair started the game off scorching hot and made his first three three-pointers as part of a 19-point first quarter. Fair wouldn’t score again, but his hot start gave the Bombers the lead they needed, and their pressure wore the Tigers down over the course of the game.
Desmond Oguno turned in one his best games of the season for the Tigers (2-5), scoring 14 points and adding seven rebounds, while Cooper Clark had nine points and seven boards. Fair led the Bombers in scoring, and Louis Parker turned in a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
“You’ve got to give them a lot of credit; they’re athletic and they crash the boards,” NHS coach Matt Thornton said. “But our guys never quit, and we saw some good things from some guys tonight.”
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