NORMAN — Norman North’s high-powered offense wasn’t bringing the goals at its usual pace, but the Timberwolves’ play at the other end was solid and steady and more than enough.
That caused a lone goal in the first eight minutes to stand up, lifting North to a 1-0 victory against Broken Arrow Tuesday night and with it a third consecutive berth in the Class 6A state championship game, to be played against Owasso this weekend at the University of Oklahoma.
“I’m so proud of my team,” said defender Jacob Jerles. “It’s always our goal to make it to the finals, and it’s big to be going back.”
North got the scoring started just more than seven minutes in, thanks to its familiar offensive combination of Carson Cacciatore and Mauro Cichero. Cacciatore took Cichero’s lead pass up the right side and ripped a low shot to goalkeeper Eric Smith’s right for the early advantage.
And that, as far as getting on the scoreboard, was it. But it wasn’t as if the Timberwolves weren’t generating chances.
North had numerous other good chances, firing 10 shots and earning seven corner kicks, but the Tiger defense blocked a handful on the doorstep, while Smith stood tall in the box with eight saves in a game that easily could have been 3-0 or 4-0 without his efforts.
On the other end, North simply wouldn’t give the Tigers much room to stretch their legs offensively. It was more than 43 minutes before B.A. even had a shot. The Tigers possessed the ball well in stretches but only seriously threatened a couple of times, once going wide on a blast by Johnathan Jean Francois and one other time getting blocked by a pair of North defenders in front of the goal mouth.