By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
DEL CITY — With starters Bri Kuestersteffen and Sam Landreth out of Friday night’s game at Del City, the rest of Norman North’s lineup knew they would have to step up to knock off the Eagles, Class 5A’s 13th-ranked team.
And that’s exactly what the Timberwolves did in a 54-40 victory keyed by huge games from Haley Woodard and Alexa Scott and a gritty effort across the board.
Woodard carried the T-Wolves through a tumultuous first half on her way to finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Scott tied a school record with 18 rebounds to go along with her 14 points as the Timberwolves pulled away in the second half.
“We talked to Haley about needing to step up again, and she picked up right where she left off last weekend,” coach Jeff Blough said. “She was really good for us tonight, and Alexa was outstanding inside.”
But those two were just the beginning for North, which was playing without its leading scorer and found itself tied with Del City at 18 late in the first half. But that was when the Timberwolves made their move, going on a 6-0 run to end the half and continuing that momentum into the third quarter behind a balanced effort.
Junior Tia Williams finished with 13 points and five rebounds while providing North with a handful of hustle plays that would prove to make a difference. She briefly left the game after landing hard on the floor after a collision in the third quarter, but was able to return to the game in the final quarter. Paige Canty added nine points and freshman Crymson Rose had four points for North.
“Everyone who played tonight did really well,” Blough said. “I think it’s a testament not just to them but to our coaching staff. Everyone who got on the floor was ready to play. Our defense was fantastic tonight.”
While North (10-4) was able to pull away in the end, it didn’t look early like they would. Thanks to eight first-quarter points from Woodard the T-Wolves took a 13-6 lead over the Eagles (6-10) after one quarter, but Del City would come back in the second quarter and tie it at 18 with three minutes left in the quarter before North got shots from Woodard and Scott as part of the run to put them ahead at the break. It was in the third quarter that the T-Wolves took complete control of the game, building a 12-point lead by the end of the period.
While center Julian Mougell is out the rest of the season, Kuestersteffen and Landreth are expected to return to practice on Monday and play in Tuesday’s game against Westmoore, though Blough plans to watch their minutes over the next week.
“Conditioning is the big thing,” he said. “I expect the game will be fast for them at first since they’ve been out. We’ll bring them back slowly if we can.”
Norman North boys 63, Del City 52: The Timberwolves proved by winning the Shawnee tournament last week that they’re still a very good team without senior Payton Prince.
But it doesn’t hurt to have him back, either. Prince led North with 19 points and added five rebounds in a 63-52 win over Del City on Friday, in a game that the T-Wolves overcame a rough shooting night to win.
North connected on just one 3-pointer in the entire contest, on an off-balance buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter by Trae Young, who despite the poor shooting performance turned in another solid all-around effort by scoring nine points and adding five rebounds and five assists.
The Timberwolves also got big nights out of sophomores Lindy Waters and Marcus Dickinson. The former had 13 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in a dominating performance that included a one-step dunk in the final minute that capped the win, while Dickinson made that possible by scoring seven straight points down the stretch for North after the eighth-ranked Eagles cut the lead to single digits.
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