EDMOND — So Norman High came out hot against Edmond Santa Fe, took an early lead, even in the Wolves’ own gym. Then, as anybody might have guessed, reality set in.
Pretty soon No. 7 Santa Fe had itself an eight-point lead late in the second quarter. After two trips down the floor in the third, it was a nine-point advantage.
It’s an old script.
Then, guess what?
The Tigers wrote a new one.
“We’ve been battle tested,” NHS coach Matt Thornton said.
The Tigers came back with their best quarter of the season on the best night of their season … to date, because they’ve got at least two more games to play.
That’s the way it works when a Class 6A regional’s biggest underdog stuns the host 55-46 on the first night of the playoffs. And that’s the way it’s working for the Tigers, who’ll meet eighth-ranked Lawton Eisenhower at 7 tonight, back at Santa Fe, trying to move within a victory of the Class 6A state tournament.
Even if the Tigers lose this evening, they’ve still extended their season into next week. If Ike grabs the regional crown, NHS will have a place in the loser’s bracket of next week’s area tournament.
Oh, what one win can do.
“We’ve been talking about it all season, about putting four quarters together,” Tiger junior guard Cooper Clark said. “We’d get two, get three (earlier in the season) and tonight it just came full circle.”
Clark might have only played three terrific quarters, the first, third and fourth, but he was still the game’s clear best player, dishing seven assists, grabbing eight rebounds and, after scoring NHS’ first 10, exiting with 19 points.
Julian Perriott added 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting and eight rebounds. He had a premonition, too.