DURANT — The Durant Lion Classic may have started out disappointing for Norman North, which dropped a one-point decision to No. 8 Putnam City North, but the tournament ended on a high note for the Timberwolves.
North started slow against Springdale, Ark., in the consolation finals of the tournament, but turned it around in the second half to pull away in a 48-34 victory.
It was just the third contest of the year for Norman North, but it was the most complete game the Timberwolves have played yet. They were taking part in their first games of the season after the football team’s run to the state championship delayed the start of the season.
And, while Saturday’s game wasn’t perfect, it was a step in the right direction, coach Jeff Blough said.
“We played harder today than we did on Friday,” he said. “We still haven’t put a full game together, but we played three quarters well today. We had better ball movement and ran our offense.”
After one quarter of play, it didn’t look like that would be the case. Springdale jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead as North settled for long jumpers and didn’t look to penetrate.
But it didn’t take long for North to turn it around, behind leaders Bri Kuestersteffen and Haley Woodard. Kuestersteffen began to assert herself on the offensive end, driving the lane and finish at the rim. That opened up the outside shots, and Kuestersteffen finished the half with 13 points.
“You could see it in Bri’s eyes, it wasn’t going to take long for her to get going,” Blough said. “We have great leadership out of her and Haley, they can just take over the game.”
North began to build its lead in the second quarter and took a 25-23 lead into halftime. But it was after the intermission that the T-Wolves really shined, holding Springdale to just 11 second-half points — and only three in the fourth.
Kuestersteffen led North with 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists, and Juliann Mougell added nine for the T-Wolves.
For a team still trying to build an identity, it was an important weekend, Blough said.
“It’s a long season, and we’ve got to get better,” he said. “But we were all right. We played a lot better today.”
Deer Creek 42, Westmoore girls 25
Westmoore fell in the championship game of the Durant Lion Classic to Class 5A’s second-ranked Deer Creek.
The Jags opened the tournament with victories over Durant and Mustang, but were unable to complete their run against the Antlers. Westmoore’s Alex Scott was named to the all-tournament team.
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com