By Michael Kinney and Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Norman High coach Nichole Copeland has spent her week preparing for a showdown tonight against Midwest City. But, while she may have spent most of her time on Xs and Os, that doesn’t mean she hasn’t found time to step back and look at the big picture.
And that picture is full of more than just basketball.
Senior Lexi Seburg has started most of the year for the Tigers. An excellent defender, she often draws one of the toughest defensive assignments, making her a valuable part of the lineup. But in Friday’s Crosstown Clash against Norman North, the game began to move in a different direction.
That’s when Copeland, her team in need of a more potent offensive lineup, pulled Seburg aside.
“I told her the game had changed and I was going to change things up,” Copeland said.
That wasn’t easy for Seburg, a senior playing her last home game, to hear. But she accepted her coach’s decision and stayed engaged on the bench throughout the entire game and translated that energy to the court when she did return.
“That was really big for her,” Copeland said. “It’s a big personal step, and she handled it really well. I’m proud of her. It’s easy sometimes to get focused on wins and losses and lose sight of the big picture, which is helping kids to mature.”
Loss drives SaberCats: Southmoore is coming off a tough, 48-47, overtime loss to No. 16 Edmond Memorial last week. It ended the SaberCats’ chances of remaining undefeated at home and in the Mid-State conference.
But instead of letting the defeat drag them down, senior Kayla Tucker said it will become a source of motivation when No. 4 Southmoore hosts its first regional tournament in program history.
“We are focused,” Tucker said. “After Friday we came back a lot more hungry and a lot more ready to get this thing started. We’ve learned from all of our losses, but this one hurt the worst. We might have been getting a little big headed going on, but it definitely brought us back down and we know we need to work hard, day in and day out.”
Southmoore (19-4) takes on Putnam City West (3-20) at 8 p.m. at SMH.
Tough draw for Lexington: A 16-7 record and a decisive district victory over Riverside have excitement high at Lexington, where the Bulldogs will host Class 3A regionals this weekend for both the boys and the girls.
But while the boys face a tough but winnable game against Sulphur, the pairings weren’t as kind to the girls, who will host a top-ranked and undefeated Sulphur squad at 6:30 tonight.
The two teams met early in the year, with Sulphur coming away with a 53-29 victory on its home court. A lot has changed since then, with the Bulldogs getting hot late in the season and now riding a six-game winning streak into the matchup. And, while Lexington will have its home crowd behind it, it’s still an uphill battle.
If Lexington can pull off the upset, the Bulldogs are guaranteed to advance to the area tournament. If they lose their next game would be played at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Sulphur against the winner of Holdenville-Valliant.
Freshmen lead way for Jags: When the Westmoore girls basketball team takes the court Thursday, it will be one of the youngest teams in the 6A postseason. The Jags have relied on their all-freshmen back court of Ashley Gomez and Sydney Chastain throughout the season and coach Andrea Guziec doesn’t see that changing.
“They have never given up, regardless of how tough a game has been or if they are struggling personally,” Guziec said. “That is really the best thing I could ask for. They both have asked to take films home so they can watch and learn … even more than we are able to do together as a team. They love to win and try hard every day to get better to help their team do just that.”
Westmoore (8-13) faces No. 10 Putnam City (15-8) today in the first round of the regional tournament at PCO.
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