MOORE — The Norman High boys may have followed their worst quarter of the season with their 21⁄2 best quarters of the season; about 20 minutes in all that may well propel them forward down the regular-season’s final stretch.
Still, what it wasn’t worth Friday night at the NHS Gym was a victory, as Moore continued to add to a fine regular season with a 62-52 victory.
The Tigers trailed 16-0 early and 18-3 after a quarter only because Cooper Clark hit a 3-pointer with 1:50 remaining in the frame.
Then, the Tigers began to find their stroke, their rhythm and their fight, ultimately threatening to claim a most incredible victory.
“I was like, ‘Man, we can actually do this,’” Clark said.
On a night he finished with a career-high 29 points, Clark hit a 3-pointer with about 5 minutes remaining that brought the Tigers within 47-43. Then, with 4 minutes remaining, Clark hit another 3 and it was 47-46.
“I congratulated the guys,” NHS coach Matt Thornton said. “We dug ourselves a hole, but we fought back. I think we just ran out of gas there at the end.”
Then came Tiger turnovers — six in all over the final 8 minutes — a slew of free throws from the Lions and no more chances to get back in the game after Moore went on a 9-0 run.
Down 10 points with a couple minutes to play, NHS never got closer than six.
It was a loss, but if the Tigers can use it as a catalyst, it might feel more like a victory by the time the playoffs roll around.
“Every season is going to have a turning point somewhere. It’s going to happen sooner or later,” Thornton said. “And they’re finally starting to buy into some of the stuff we’ve said.
“I told them all along, ‘You have to be a blue-collar team. And I thought the last three quarters (we) were a blue-collar team.”