By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Rare is the day Norman North boys coach Butch Roberts has ever been so fine with a loss. But what’s he to do about it?
Moore made shots.
The Timberwolves didn’t.
It’s a simple game.
The 54-48 final score represented a big win for the Lions, who entered having won just two of its last seven games.
The Lions earned it with perfect free-throw shooting (13 of 13), terrific 3-point shooting (7 of 13) and fair-enough field-goal accuracy (17 of 38). The T-Wolves coach hardly blamed his own team for any of it.
“That’s a a really good offensive team,” Roberts said. “I thought we played pretty good defense.”
Marcus Dove led the way with 19 points, including 8 of 8 free-throw shooting and a 3-pointer that was part of an 8-0 run in the middle of the fourth quarter that put the first real daylight between the two teams, staking the Lions to a 45-36 edge with about 4 minutes to play.
For three quarters, the game was there for the taking from either team, but neither ever led by more than five points. And when the Lions finally put a few possessions together, the T-Wolves’ offense continued to sputter. Not because it failed to execute so much as put the ball in the basket.
“When the ball doesn’t go in the hole …,” Roberts said, his voice trailing off. “I thought we played smart and shared the ball.”
Freshman guard Marcus Dickinson led the T-Wolves with 18 points, making half of his 14 shots and 4 of 7 free throws.
Center Kairo Rutledge was next with a double-double, 10 points and 10 rebounds, even as his most telling stat was his 4 of 16 field accuracy. Shooting guard Blake Knighton suffered a similar fate, hitting 1 of 7 shots, including four good looks from 3-point land.
“Maybe we were marginally rushed,” Roberts said, “but we missed 8 or 10 shots that we normally make.”
Sometimes it’s just that way.
North’s shooting woes were so apparent, Moore (11-8) adjusted its defense for it.
“We let some guys get by us early, so we backed off a bit,” Lion coach Aaron Howell said. “We could see they were having some trouble with their shot.”
North (9-10) missed all 12 of its 3-point attempts made just 21 of 64 overall. The T-Wolves were only a little better at the free-throw line, making 6 of 10.
On the bright side for North, it was only losing that stung. On the way out of the gym, there was no regret for the T-Wolves.
“We just need to make shots,” Dickinson said. “We left it all on the court and that’s all you can ask for.”
Lindy Waters, another North freshman, added eight points and five rebounds. Dante Butler supported Dove with nine points and the Lions got 11 rebounds from Dorian Gigger.
“It’s definitely a big win for us,” Howell said.
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