Facing Edmond North in the first round of the Edmond Public School Open Basketball Tournament, Southmoore sleepwalked through the first half. It wasn’t until the they woke up in the second half that the SaberCats started playing like coach Wes Brown hoped for. They defeated the Huskies 79-54 to advance to the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. today at Edmond North High.

“I don’t know if it’s an afternoon game or what, but our pace was real slow,” Brown said. “We were just playing half speed in the first half. Half speed getting back on defense. Half speed running down the floor on offense.”

The goal in the early part of the game was to get Austin Haywood going. Playing in only his second game, the coaching staff wanted to get him touches.

“Entry to the post wasn’t good,” Brown said. “There is a way to do it and we just haven’t had enough practice time to get it to him. And he is missing some chip shots that he doesn’t normally miss.”

The Huskies’ only returning starter from last year was point guard Mike Menzel, who kept the Huskies in the game with his long ranged shooting as he connected on three 3-pointers.

Despite that, Southmoore (2-1) led 33-30 at halftime.

In the second half, the Cats turned up their defense. Kendal Thompson led the charge when he locked onto Menzel and held him to two points in the second half.

“We said, OK, let’s pick up the pace,” Brown said. “Kendal got after the point guard pretty good. Started creating some turnovers. We started pushing them out of their offense. We kind of played on our defense from there on out. I am pretty pleased with what I saw second half.”

As their defensive intensity increased, so did their offensive output. Thompson, Tilford Thorton and Brandon Lucas racked up the steals and converted them into dunks and lay-ups. Southmoore outscored North 26-7 in the third quarter to put the game away.

Thorton led all scorers with 19 points to go along with three assists. Thompson added 17 points and three assists while Lucas pulled down eight rebounds to go along with his 11 points. LaBrown Brown came off the bench to haul in six rebounds while Richard Ard collected four steals.

Haywood collected seven rebounds and four steals, but only scored eight points. The coaching staff knows they will need even more today if they are to make it to the tournament championship.

“He was tired,” Brown said. “He is still not in basketball shape. We are just going to have to be patient with him. I am trying to playing him as much as possible so that he can get in shape. We will see tomorrow night. We are going to have to have him.”



GIRLS

Edmond Memorial 46, Southmoore 45

After losing to the Bulldogs, the SaberCats will play at 5 p.m. today to keep their tournament hopes alive in a win or go home contest. The game is at Edmond Santa Fe.

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