The Norman Transcript

Sports

February 21, 2013

Clash should have prepared NHS, North girls for playoffs

NORMAN — Friday’s Crosstown Clash may not have been the last time Norman High and Norman North will face off this season.

Both teams open the postseason tonight at North, with NHS (8-15) taking on Midwest City (13-9) at 6:30 p.m. before North (16-7) squares off with Lawton (4-19) at 8 p.m.

The winners of each game will meet 1:30 p.m. Saturday and advance to play in the area tournament the following week, while the losers will be eliminated from the Class 6A playoffs.

If Friday’s Clash — a North victory in a game that was tight for most of the way — was any indication, there’s a chance Saturday’s game could be the third Clash of the season.

North is rolling into the playoffs. The T-Wolves have won four of five, with the only loss in that span coming to fourth-ranked Southmoore. They showed on Friday why they’re so dangerous. Seven players scored for North, led by Bri Kuestersteffen’s 20 points, and the offense looked smooth and explosive.

Playing in a close game in front of a hostile crowd was as close to a playoff atmosphere as either can get, and both teams handled the pressure well. It’s something North sophomore Tia Williams expected to benefit the T-Wolves as they hope to make a deep postseason run.

“It was a really fun atmosphere,” she said. “It just kept us more pumped and more involved in the game.”

The Tigers are in a bit different situation. They’ve lost six in a row while dealing with illness and injury to their two leading scorers, Taylor Ely and Bethany Cox. Ely still hasn’t fully recovered from a badly sprained ankle while Cox missed one game last week with the flu and wasn’t at full strength against North.

But after a disappointing effort in a loss to Westmoore nine days ago, the Tigers turned it around for Friday’s Clash, playing one of their better games and threatening North well into the fourth quarter.

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