DEL CITY — After going down hard and sustaining a nasty cut on Thursday, there was no guarantee that Norman High senior Sam Blodgett would be able to make it into the game on Friday.
But he did. Sporting a large bandage over his left eye, Blodgett toughed it out for the Tigers and delivered a much-needed gritty performance, delivering 19 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
But it wasn’t enough for the Tigers, who lost 62-53 to Class 5A’s No. 6 Del City in a back-and-forth game that showed both how good this NHS team can be as well as how far it has to go.
NHS responded well early to Del City’s fast-paced offense and aggressive defense. The Tigers forced 13 turnovers in the first half while giving it just eight. That allowed them to stick with Del City early and even take a 22-20 lead midway through the second quarter.
But things went downhill from there. NHS made a series of unforced turnovers in the third quarter that changed the flow of the game and behind eight straight points from Brett Cannon Del City, went on an 18-7 run that forced NHS to play from behind the rest of the way.
“Some days you need some breaks and you just don’t get them,” coach Matt Thornton said. “I was proud of our kids and the way they battled tonight. We just didn’t hit enough shots or get enough stops. It was just one of those days where things don’t break your way.”
Despite falling behind by as much as 16, NHS made several runs late in the game, cutting the lead to eight points several times and even to 56-50 with 1:30 left in the game. But that was as close as the Tigers would get and the Eagles took care of the ball and knocked down their free throws to put the game away.