Since returning from Alabama, North’s game scores have been 4-0, 6-2, 4-0, 5-0, 5-2, 4-0 and 4-1.
NHS has gone 6-1 over the same stretch, though two of the Tigers’ wins, against Yukon and Southmoore, have been 2-1 overtime victories, and another, against Putnam City North, a 2-1 shootout victory.
Bray believes North has simply become a more precise team, no longer giving back the chances it creates. That, and junior midfielder Mauro Cichero, sitting on 19 goals, has caught fire.
“We had a lot of things going, just the execution was not there,” Bray said. “I don’t know what got into us, but the execution started coming and Mauro started scoring and it came together.”
NHS can make a bit of a case it’s come on of late, too.
For all the shootouts and one-goal victories — nine in all — the last three games have been different. The Tigers have crushed Lawton Ike 7-0, beaten third-ranked Edmond Santa Fe 2-0 and, against Bishop McGuinness the first night of the playoffs, dominated every member of the Fighting Irish but goalkeeper David Brown in a 1-0 victory.
Drummond is promising nothing special against the new and improved T-Wolves. His team will play its game, with a focus on defense, but without selling out to stop any one player.
“I think it’s a mistake to focus on one player,” he said, “even as good as Mauro … and I think he’s the best player in the state. He’s the total package.”
North is relishing the rematch.
“We have a chance to clean our slate for the year,” Bray said, “and move on in the playoffs.”
And everybody gets to come out for one more Crosstown Clash.
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