SHAWNEE — Marcus Dickinson, Norman North’s super sophomore, or one of them, said, “We didn’t want to lose.”
That’s one way to put it, but more was afoot than that Friday night at the Shawnee Invitational, where the Timberwolves eliminated Class 5A No. 6 El Reno by a 62-53 count to earn their way into tonight’s 8:30 p.m. championship game at Shawnee High School.
The T-Wolves were down 33-30 at the half and coach Bryan Merritt “was the most frustrated I’ve ever been coaching these guys.”
In short, eighth-ranked North (10-4) could score, but couldn’t stop the Indians from scoring. And the T-Wolves weren’t playing smart, together or with a great deal of purpose.
Also, their coach had had it; so much so, he wasn’t sure if he could put it into words the team might respond to. But who knew, he wouldn’t have to.
“Usually, it’s me giving them a lot of intensity, yelling, you know what I mean,” Merritt said, “and I was happy for once it was them because I was about done.”
If the T-Wolves screamed at each other, they didn’t say. If they pounded on lockers, they didn’t say.
What did they say?
“We wanted a good spot in the playoffs, so we wanted to come out and play good defense,” Dickinson said. “We lost the championship at McGuinness, so we wanted to prove a point and get to the championship tomorrow.”
Of course, “tomorrow” is now today and the T-Wolves have their shot.
They’ll have it because what Dickinson said — and whatever else was said — sunk in well enough to make sure this wasn’t another narrow defeat, the way all of North’s defeats have been this season.
Freshman guard Trae Young came out of the half and hit a 3 that tied it up. After Lindy Waters gave North a two-point lead, Christian Wassana, with range beginning in the parking lot, hit a long 3 that put the Indians back on top.