It’s a familiar story.
“We fought,” Norman North girls basketball coach Rory Hamilton said.
Yet, getting over the hump, over a team as strong as Moore, continues to be a difficult proposition.
Within a point during the third quarter and within a single possession for a spell in the fourth, the Timberwolves fell 49-43 to the Lions Friday night at the North Gym.
Eighth-ranked Moore (11-7), though coming off two wins, was also looking for a victory over a quality opponent. The last two they’d played against Class 6A top 10 foes, they’d fallen to Midwest City and Mustang.
Not quite in the top-10, the 12th-ranked T-Wolves (7-7) offered quality, at least.
North was within 20-19 with 6 minutes remaining in the third quarter and though Moore pushed its edge to 29-22 over the next three minutes, it was right back to 31-29 by the end of the frame and would have been a one-point edge for the T-Wolves had Kennedy Cummings’ half-court heave to beat the buzzer been any closer at all.
North shot well in the final frame and enjoyed its most productive quarter, netting 14 points, most of them thanks to a quartet of 3-pointers, two from Cummings and two from Fatima Black.
Moore never gave up the lead, however, getting six points in the frame from both Aaliyah Moore and Brooklyn Haywood and 18 in all.
Black’s first 3 of the fourth quarter brought the T-Wolves within 40-37 and Hannah Fields’ steal gave North one of its rare chances to pull even in the final frame. Instead, Kayla Jones stole it back for the Lions, leading to a natural three-point play from Moore and the closest North would be the rest of the way was four points.
“We were just right there,” Hamilton said. “We’ve just got to find a way to get over one of these and get some confidence back, so that we can win close games like this.”
Moore led the Lions with 21 points. Haywood added nine.
Cummings, who netted eight in the fourth quarter, led the T-Wolves with 15 points. Black finished with 12.
North is back on its home court at 3:30 p.m. today, making up a game against Edmond Santa Fe.
— Clay Horning