Thornton’s squad isn’t the only one showing improvement at NHS. The girls have faced one of the more difficult early-season schedules possible, but it’s something they’re getting used to learning from.
And by the time it’s all said and done, the Tigers’ first Clash loss in more than 10 years may be the catalyst that turns around the season.
“We needed this to humble us,” senior Bethany Cox said after the game. “We can use this as motivation to work hard in practice over the break.”
There were some encouraging signs for coach Nichole Copeland. The Tigers played stout defense and had more success working the ball inside than they have in recent outings. More importantly, their 13 baskets came on eight assists.
And there’s nothing embarrassing about a loss to North. The Timberwolves have their best squad in many years, with a host of underclassmen providing the depth behind Bri Kuestersteffen that North lacked a year ago.
But maybe the most impressive thing about this North squad is its attitude. No one could fault the Timberwolves for reveling a bit in Thursday night’s historic victory. Still, they didn’t.
Instead, after shedding a few tears of joy, the T-Wolves were already talking about their next goal, winning the Duncan tournament that begins Thursday.
It’s a mindset that coach Jeff Blough said he hasn’t seen in years, and with the athletes North has, it’s a mindset that could spell big things in the Timberwolves’ future.
Four teams, all at various stages of development. But if Thursday’s Clash was any indication, it’s a development that’s far from finished. For high school basketball fans in Norman, that may be the best gift of all.
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com