MOORE — Jordan Thompson stood near halfcourt Friday night, eyes fixed on the draining game clock, pounding the ball against the hardwood with a smile on his face and a student section full of applauding students to his right.
No. 13 Southmoore defeated No. 19 Norman High 64-50 at home Friday night behind Thompson’s 21-point performance.
The SaberCats had previously lost two in a row to Del City and Edmond Santa Fe, respectively.
“We bounced back,” said Southmoore coach Tim Stogsdill. “And I thought we beat a good team.”
Jonah Paden led NHS (7-9) with 17 points. Ben Emmert, who was offered a scholarship by Southwestern Oklahoma State University earlier this week, finished with 11.
Southmoore’s Steven Jackson scored 12 points and Sam Godwin added 10 to round out double-digit scoring for the SaberCats.
But Thompson’s late effort — 10 of his 21 points came in the fourth quarter, including a pair of late 3-pointers — was the difference.
“I was just shooting what (NHS) gave me,” Thompson said. “Whatever they let me get, I took advantage.”
Stogsdill said the SaberCats’ press defense allowed Thompson to flourish in the fourth quarter.
“I thought early, he didn’t really let the game come to him,” Stogsdill said. “I think we wore (NHS) down … and he finally got some separation and was able to knock down some big shots for us. He settled down a little bit.”
Neither team led by more than six points through the first three quarters.
“My teammates Steven (Jackson) and Damian (Kline), I was just telling them to stop playing with (NHS),” Thompson said.
Stogsdill said NHS was getting too many rebounds early.
“Norman’s a good rebounding team,” said Godwin. “We just had everybody getting a body on them and it made [rebounding] easier.”
Southmoore (9-5) began separating with a Domingo Ward 3-pointer with five minutes to go in the fourth quarter. But the Tigers erased that deficit with a 3-pointer from Gabe Tucci on the other end of the floor.
The SaberCats finally pulled away with the first of Thompson’s two fourth-quarter 3s. Jackson added a pair of buckets help polish the game off.
“I thought Steve did a really good job late in the game,” Stogsdill said. “He does all of the dirty work for us. He’s kind of the unsung hero. He does a lot of the little things for us, especially on the defensive end.”
Southmoore travels to Stillwater (9-5) Jan. 22 to face off with the 14th-ranked Pioneers.
“(Stillwater) is well-coached, they play hard,” Stogsdill said. “It’s going to be tough on the road … We’re going to have to make them run the floor to be successful.”
NHS is about to begin a three-game road swing starting at Westmoore (1-11) on Jan. 22.