EDMOND — One of these days the Norman North boys are going to take down one of the state’s heavyweights and maybe, after that day, all will be different.
That day, however, was not Tuesday, when once again, the Timberwolves proved just how good they might be when their time finally comes, even as they yet again could not quite get over the hump.
After a furious rally pulled North from 13 points down to just three, all in the space of about 2 minutes, fifth-ranked Edmond Memorial walked out of the gym with a 76-68 victory over the eighth-ranked Timberwolves.
The difference in the game was the trees in Memorial’s middle.
Christian Doolittle, the biggest one, finished with 27 points and seven rebounds. And he got help inside from Jacob Essman and Caleb McCain, who combined for 12 points and nine rebounds.
In concert, what their in-the-paint presence meant was the T-Wolves seemingly went the length of the third quarter without grabbing a single rebound; at least on Memorial’s end of the court, where the Bulldogs were scoring every time down, the only variable being how many attempts they’d need to get a basket or to the free-throw line, where, thanks to a large foul discrepancy, they hit 22 of 30 to North’s 12 of 14
“We weren’t tough enough,” North coach Bryan Merritt said. “No. 25 (McCain) is big, 21 (Doolittle) is big, 32 (Essman) is big. I thought those three guys just kind of bowled us over. Their big guys really hurt us.”
North was led by sophomores Marcus Dickinson and Lindy Waters, the former coming through with 27 points and four rebounds and the latter netting 23 and six. Trae Young added nine points, all of them in the first half and all but one of them in the first quarter.