NORMAN — The last time Norman North was at full strength, the Timberwolves proved themselves to be an elite team, winning the Tournament of Champions in Tulsa. At that event, North defeated a trio of highly ranked teams from across all classes in the state to win the event.
That was in December. Since then, North hasn’t played with a full and healthy roster. Heading into the season’s final weekend and today’s 7 p.m. state quarterfinals game against No. 1-ranked Broken Arrow, there’s no better time to change that.
And that’s exactly what’s happening for North, which received surprise news this week that sixth man Tia Williams will be available for the first time in several weeks. Williams, a dangerous shooter and potent slasher, has missed North’s run to the state tournament due to an injured hip.
But doctors cleared her to play this week and — though she hasn’t competed in full-contact practice — she’s going to give it a go.
It couldn’t come at a better time for North, which will need everyone to try and upset undefeated Broken Arrow, which is 25-0 and steamrolled its way through the playoffs.
“It’s great to have Tia back, and we’ve had two of our best practices of the year,” coach Jeff Blough said. “She’s another scoring option and a smart player to have on the floor. We’re going to need her to try and stop the juggernaut they are.”
It won’t be a simple task. Though Broken Arrow won’t have much of a size advantage over North, every player the Tigers put on the floor can handle the ball, shoot and run the floor. The focus for North will be on rebounding and transition defense in an attempt to slow down fast-paced Broken Arrow.