NORMAN — Norman High continued its winning ways Tuesday at Del City.
The girls, who won two games over ranked opponents last weekend at the Carl Albert tournament, picked up another victory with a 65-53 win over Del City on Tuesday.
Led by Taylor Ely’s 31 points, the Tigers built an 18-point first-half lead over Del City before allowing the Eagles back into the game with a poor third quarter. But NHS made enough plays down the stretch to pull away for the win.
“Being up that much at halftime was new for us, and I was disappointed in the way we came out in the third quarter,” coach Nichole Copeland said. “A lot of that is inexperience and not being used to winning. But we made enough plays in the fourth quarter to win the game.”
It was the third win in four games for NHS (6-11), which will next play Friday at Moore.
While the girls pulled away for the win, the boys took the game to overtime before falling 70-65. John Michael Benardello led the Tigers with 27 points, but the Tigers (3-10) came up just short against Class 5A’s eigth-ranked team.
The Norman North girls, who found a way to win two games in a tournament weekend despite being down three regular players, lead the way at No. 8 in the most recent rankings. The Timberwolves (9-4) played without starters Sam Landreth and Bri Kuestersteffen as well as sixth man Julian Mougell. All three are expected to make their way back in the next week or two, possibly as soon as the T-Wolves’ next game Friday against Del City.
The North boys have moved to No. 9 in the rankings after the T-Wolves (11-5) won the Shawnee tournament. The NHS girls didn’t move into the top 20 after upsetting No. 15 Putnam City and Class 2A’s No. 1 Millwood at the Carl Albert Titan Classic last weekend.
Southmoore’s girls are ranked No. 15 while Westmoore’s sit at No. 18. In Class 3A, Washington’s girls moved up to No. 4 while remaining undefeated at 15-0.
Moore’s boys are ranked No. 16, while Southmoore’s are No. 17. In Class 3A, Washington’s boys are No. 19.
T-Wolves make make statement
Norman North did more than just win the Shawnee tournament last weekend: they did it without starter Payton Prince. For a team already dealing with injuries before entering the tournament without Prince, who was on a recruiting visit for football, it was a statement to the rest of the state.
“If you told people that we would be without Payton they probably wouldn’t think we’d be this good,” coach Bryan Merritt said.
But we showed some resiliency and played defense every possession. When we do that, we’re a different team.”
The Timberwolves had lost four of five before winning three games in the tournament. They’ll return to the floor Friday at home against Del City.
NHS slowly climbing ladder
While Norman High didn’t make it into the rankings after a pair of upsets, their play at the Carl Albert Titan Classic over the weekend had coach Nichole Copeland excited about the progress they’ve made.
The Tigers upset No. 15 Putnam City on Thursday before taking No. 6 Bartlesville to the final minute in the semifinal. They followed up that narrow defeat by beating Class 2A’s top-ranked Millwood in the third-place game. They did it with newfound production from their guards, including freshman Shelby Thrailkill, who hit several big threes over the weekend to complement the scoring of Taylor Ely and Bethany Franks.
“This is the best three-game stretch we’ve played,” Copeland said after the tournament. “This was a big step for this team.”
Norman North’s sophomore games against Del City have been canceled. The Eagles didn’t field a sophomore team this season, so the games scheduled for Jan. 30 and Feb. 20 will not be played.
Follow me @Chosler88
Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.