Fourth time was the charm for the Norman North boys Friday night.

The Timberwolves (17-6) beat Moore (7-16) for the fourth time this season and won their first home regional opener in school history with a 64-44 victory over the Lions.

After watching 17-5 Edmond Memorial fall to 8-14 Del City in the regional’s early game, the T-Wolves knew they couldn’t take anything for granted.

They didn’t.

“What I was most pleased with was our effort in this game,” North coach Butch Roberts said. “We got back to playing with great effort. We hadn’t done that in a while. We hit a little bit of a valley there, like most teams do. We played with a sense of urgency tonight, and I’m really happy with that.”

The T-Wolves used a big third quarter to pull away from the Lions. And Moore gave them some help, too.

After taking a 27-21 lead into the half, Brendan Mitchell scored eight points out of the break to give North a 14-point edge, and that’s when things got interesting.

Moore’s Shawn Bean, who scored 28 of the Lions’ 44 points, picked up his fourth foul with 2:10 remaining in the third quarter. Ben Pelley argued the call, and was called for a technical. North’s Jerry Dockery hit both free throws, and a few seconds later, Brian Adkisson was called for a technical, sending Dockery back to the line. He made those two and before Marcus Graham found Trey Jones for an easy layup with just over a minute left in the period to make it 46-26 North.

After Bean hit two free throws to make it an 18-point game, Moore coach John Martin picked up a technical and Justin Schaefer made it 48-28 from the free-throw line.

In the period, North outscored Moore 22-9 and was 9-for-13 from the free-throw line.

“I don’t know if they lost their composure there or what,” Mitchell said. “It certainly helped us and just compounded on our run.”

After letting the Lions hang with them in the first half, the T-Wolves took over in the second. In the fourth quarter, North continued to play well against Moore’s pressure defense and come up with clean looks at the basket.

The Lions couldn’t get any closer than 15 points.

Mitchell led the way for North with 22 points and six rebounds. Austin Messerli had six points and nine rebounds and Dockery had nine points, seven from the free-throw line. Eric Robinson finished with six points and four assists.

“We did a better job of seeing the floor and making plays and seeing the gaps in their zone defense,” Roberts said. “And when we stretched it out to 10 or 12, they had to come after us a little bit, and that plays to our advantage.”

It’s sweet vindication for the North seniors, who remember losing early in the playoffs each of the last two seasons.

North lost in the first round last season to Lawton at the Putnam City regional.

“It feels good, especially after watching Edmond lose, that we did our job,” Mitchell said. “We finally beat a team the way we were supposed to. We didn’t do that the past two years.”

The T-Wolves will play Del City at 7 p.m. tonight for the regional championship, but they’re already guaranteed a spot in the area championship round next week thanks to Friday night’s victory.

“We’ve got a countdown on the board, ‘Seniors, you’re guaranteed three practices and one game,” Roberts said. “We just changed it to four and two. We get to play tomorrow night, and we get to play again next week. I’m excited.”


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