MOORE — It was early in the third quarter and Jeff Blough, Norman North girls coach, had a thought.
“We look like a team,” he said, standing in front of the chairs that made up the Timberwolves’ bench, “that hasn’t played in 20 days.”
It was after the game he realized his math was off three days. It had actually been 17 days. Of course, the point was still made.
“It was just different getting back into the swing of things,” North junior guard Tia Williams said.
Perhaps it was for both teams, as North was able to endure its aesthetically displeasing exhibition victoriously, knocking off the Lions 45-36.
Blough gave plenty of credit to first-year Moore coach Rhonda Fields, who may not be putting a winner on the court just yet most nights, but has made the Lions competitive.
“They did a really good job of making it ugly,” Blough said. “They played a soft man-to-man. We didn’t react very well. We didn’t cut with a purpose and we didn’t screen well tonight. I thought we took too many 3s.”
North’s best quarter, strangely, was the first, when it posted an 18-9 edge behind eight of Williams’ 12 points.
North’s other leading scorer, Bri Kuestersteffen, was there at the end to ice the game at the free-throw line.
Kuestersteffen finished just 2-of-7 from the field, both of the makes 3-pointers and both in the first half, but it was her 6-of-6 free-throw performance after the half that kept Moore from ever getting within two possessions of the T-Wolves.
Kuestersteffen also felt North wasn’t itself.
“There were definitely a bunch of spots we can improve on,” she said. “We didn’t have much energy. I think it got better as the game went along.”
Amanda Patterson led the Lions with 12 points, the most impressive three of them coming from about 26 feet with a minute to play, cutting North’s advantage to seven points, 43-36, creating a game that hadn’t been so close since the middle of the first quarter.
Back on the other end, Kuestersteffen hit her last two free throws to stem the threat.
Breane Jones added 11 points for Moore. Allison Rogers finished with six points and eight rebounds.
For the T-Wolves, drawing the start in front of Alexis Scott, who came off the bench as she continues to recover from strep throat, Julian Mougell finished with nine points and eight rebounds.
It may not have been much, but it was still a victory that pushed North, ranked No. 3 — dead even with Booker T. Washington, as ranked by the Class 6A coaches — to 6-1 on the season. Moore fell to 4-7.
Moore boys 67, Norman North 64: Even on a night Marcus Dickinson goes for 31 points, the Timberwolves are going to have a hard time winning Jaylon when only two other teammates score.
That was the story for the North boys at Moore High Gym, where a den of Lions that got 20 points from Dante Butler, 17 from Braydon Powell and 16 from Jaylon Wilson outlasted the T-Wolves.
Lindy Waters added 23 for North and Payton Prince 10, but nobody else scored.
North fell to 7-3, while Moore improved to 7-4.