NORMAN — How much talent the Norman High and Westmoore boys are able to throw out on the floor will only be understood over the course of the season. Already understood, following Tuesday night’s season opener, is the idea that each squad should cash in no less success then it has coming.
That was the lesson from the Jaguars’ 68-58 victory, a game they led just 59-58 inside of 2 minutes remaining before the Tigers went cold one last time and the Jags just kept making their free throws.
Westmoore center Tripp Fuller proved he’s more than a brilliant mind, finishing with 20 points and 10 rebounds to go with the 34 he made on the ACT.
He was countered by Norman High’s Cooper Clark, who finished with 21 points, 10 coming in the fourth quarter, when he went 7 for 7 from the free-throw line.
It was Clark who scored the Tigers’ final three points, all at the charity stripe after being clobbered beyond the 3-point arc, ending a fourth-quarter blitz that saw both squads answer each other at a furious pace.
During one clip, NHS’ John-Michael Bernardello answered Westmoore’s Landon Smith’s 3-pointer with one of his own. That was followed by a Westmoore turnover and two free throws from Clark that made it 53-50. Then Clark was answered by a 3 from Dakota Foster, who was then answered by a 3 from Clark. Maybe 90 second ran off the clock as the teams went back and forth.
On opening night, it felt like an area final, at least until the Tigers closed cold.
“We got so wrapped up in our emotions, we started making bad decisions and bad plays,” Clark said. “I made terrible decisions.”
Perhaps, but NHS coach Matt Thornton didn’t seem too broken up about it.
“Our energy level was really good,” he said. “I thought we just missed a lot of shots.”