The Norman Transcript

Local Sports

January 19, 2014

Merritt believes young squad learning from its narrow defeats

NORMAN — For the fourth time this season, Norman North lost a game by a single shot, when Midwest City defeated the Timberwolves by three points in overtime in a top-10 showdown Friday night.

It came in a game the T-Wolves led by as many as 18 points, and one in which they had several chances to win in regulation before ultimately falling. It was another close loss for North, three days after losing by three points to Moore. It’s become a trend for North, but it’s not one that’s bothering first-year coach Bryan Merritt too much.

At least not yet.

“It takes time to learn how to win tough games,” he said after the T-Wolves missed their chance to upset the state’s third-ranked team. “They started a bunch of seniors tonight, and we started three sophomores and a freshman. I’ve got a young team here, and they’re learning from these games.”

While the Timberwolves haven’t pulled out a close win yet, there have been signs of progress. In the first game of the season, an overtime loss to Edmond Memorial, North rushed several possessions and forced shots at the end of the game to give the Bulldogs a chance to get back in the game.

Since, North has gotten further and further into games. The T-Wolves lost to Bishop McGuinness on a buzzer-beater and gave themselves several chances to beat Midwest City despite losing several guards to foul trouble in the game’s waning minutes.

“It’s a process to learn how to win those games,” Merritt said. “Toward the end of that game we had guys in who haven’t played anything but JV in there with the ball. And I thought our guys handled it pretty well.”

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