OKLAHOMA CITY — For the second straight day, Norman High took a large second half lead. But unlike the opener in the Bishop McGuinness Classic on Thursday against Guthrie, this time the Tigers didn’t let their opponent back in the game.
The result was a decisive 71-48 victory over Northwest Classen on Friday that broke a five-game losing streak for NHS. It was also a chance for Daniel Harper to get back on the court after having an off-game on Thursday.
And the senior captain made the most of it, hitting two early threes to key the Tigers to a comeback after falling behind early.
The two shots capped off a 10-2 NHS run that put the Tigers up 12-10 after falling behind 8-2, and spurred Harper to what may have been his best game of the season. He finished with 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds on an efficient night.
Harper’s assists also served to set up Sam Blodgett, who had a monster game to the tune of 20 points and 14 rebounds while dominating the paint.
“We were able to get out and run some in transition and I just was looking for the open man,” Harper said. “We didn’t have much intensity on defense early, but once we picked that up we were able to get some easy baskets.”
The importance of the victory for NHS can’t be overstated after the free fall that followed Jay Finley exiting the lineup with an injury last month. The Tigers had lost seven of their last eight games, and too many had come from blown leads late in the game.
That was something the Tigers made sure wouldn’t happen on Friday. It was a close game for most of the first half until NHS made a run late in the second quarter to extend a narrow lead to a 10-point halftime margin.