The Timberwolves would respond and take a four-point lead into what would be a hectic fourth quarter in which their mistakes finally caught up to them.
It came in the form of fouls. Fighting foul trouble for the entire game, it finally caught up to North in the final frame. First it was Marcus Dickinson, who went out with four minutes remaining and left North without a point guard. Then Lindy Waters earned his fifth foul just moments after hitting a go-ahead shot with two minutes left. Next out was Garrett Pearson and Quan Hogan, and North — already playing without injured guards Malcolm Carter and Najji Brown — was in desperate straits.
Still, the T-Wolves had their chances. They owned a lead with under a minute left in regulation and had several chances at the buzzer to end it. Their prayers went unanswered, and Midwest City pulled away in overtime despite going just 6-13 in the extra period.
“In tight games like this, it always comes down to one play,” Merritt said. “We’ve had four losses, and all of them have come down to one play. It’s a process, and you’ve got to learn how to play in tight games. We started three sophomores and a freshman tonight. As long as we keep playing as hard and as tough as we did tonight, we’re going to start winning these.”
Young and Waters both scored 23 for North, while Payton Prince added nine points and seven rebounds. On the other side, Kesean Brown and Noel both had 20, none bigger than Noel’s string of eight straight free throws in the final minutes of regulation, part of an extreme discrepancy at the line. North made 25 baskets in the game to Midwest City’s 13, but the Bombers shot 53 throws to just 14 for the Timberwolves.
Next up for North is a makeup game at Westmoore tonight.
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