ADA — In sort of a strange way, everything went right for the Norman North girls Thursday afternoon at the East Central Oklahoma Classic.
They missed a ton of fourth-quarter free throws, including three straight front ends of one-and-ones. And they came out slumberously, almost sleepwalking through the first quarter. And they beat the Pioneers 51-37.
Today, they’ll meet Edmond Memorial in a semifinal game seemingly worthy of the Big House or the Mabee Center, yet instead will be played at Ada High School.
Maybe North’s bad game is out of the way just in time for another top-10 matchup between the Timberwolves and Bulldogs.
“We had a long car ride in the morning and we had finals yesterday,” North point guard Bri Kuestersteffen said, “so I feel like our head just wasn’t in it.”
North was able to hang around early, with Kuestersteffen bailing her teammates out with a couple first-quarter 3-pointers. Next, the T-Wolves found Julian Mougell inside for six second-quarter points. Despite playing in a bit of a daze, North led 20-19 after 16 minutes. Not that it was near enough for coach Jeff Blough.
“We came out flat and unfocused,” he said. “That’s the most unfocused we’ve been all season.”
Blough delivered a halftime message.
“Basically,” he said, “that they had better get their rear in gear and they better get it together.”
They did, with a lot of help from off-guard Tia Williams.
Two quick fouls limited her time in the first half, but she came out in the third quarter with a pair of 3-pointers, followed by an offensive rebound and put-back. Spurred by Williams, North ran off 16 of the second half’s first 18 points.
“I was more relaxed after I went out and came back in,” Williams said. “I felt better with my shot.”