NORMAN — Taylor Ely isn’t the only Tiger returning from an extended injury.
Senior guard Jay Finley has been out for more than a month with a stress fracture in his lower back. He expects to return to practice on Wednesday and hopes to play in next Friday’s contest with Midwest City.
“I’m feeling better and I’ve been working out to get back on the court,” said Finley, who last played on Dec. 20 against Norman North. “I was originally supposed to be back next Thursday, but the doctor wanted me to practice two days before I played so I should be back on Wednesday.”
NHS was reeling in December after losing their leading scorer, dropping three straight games in a holiday tournament. But the Tigers have won three of their last four, including a big win over Moore last week to avenge a loss from earlier in the season.
Finley’s return to the lineup can only help the Tigers, who dropped Friday’s game to Westmoore. In the two teams’ previous meeting this year, an overtime win for NHS in the championship game of the Durant tournament, Finley scored eight straight points in overtime to give NHS the win.
Hitting the road: In the final tournament weekend of the season, two Norman teams will be on the road playing while the other two spend their time in the gym.
The NHS girls are playing in the Carl Albert tournament this weekend, starting with an 11:30 a.m. game against Putnam City, while the Norman North boys travel to Shawnee to play.
The NHS boys and North girls, on the other hand, have already played the maximum of three tournaments allowed this season and will instead use the break to practice.
With just a few games left before playoff seedings are determined, every game and practice is vital. The NHS girls face a tough field including Edmond North, Yukon and Putnam City, while North also faces a challenging field in Shawnee.
For the NHS boys and North girls, both teams coming off losses on Tuesday, the time in the gym will be well-spent.
“We just have to keep getting up shots and become more consistent shooting the ball,” NHS coach Matt Thornton said after Tuesday’s loss to Westmoore. “It’s something we’re going to keep working on in practice and we’ll get ready to play Southmoore next Tuesday.”
Southmoore rolling: Fourth-ranked Southmoore proved Tuesday in a top-10 showdown with Norman North that the SaberCats are a real contender in Class 6A this season.
Epitomized by a 21-0 run in the second quarter of Tuesday’s 45-33 win at North, Southmoore’s stifling defense has the potential to take the SaberCats deep into the playoffs. Their losses have come to a pair of No. 1s in Class 4A’s Anadarko and Class 2A’s Northeast.
The final month of the season will be a tough test for the SaberCats before heading into the postseason. Besides a rematch with North, Southmoore also has tough games remaining with Edmond Memorial and Class 5A’s eighth-ranked Del City.
Several Tigers place at Yukon: Isaiah Davis headlined the list of finishers for NHS at the Yukon wrestling tournament last weekend, finishing in fourth place at 152 pounds.
In the most difficult tournament of the regular season, NHS finished 12th out of 24 teams in Yukon, with most of the state’s top programs in attendance. Derek Ross and Colin Pasque also placed, taking fifth place at 113 and 138 pounds, respectively.
After dropping a dual at Moore on Tuesday night, the Tigers travel tonight to dual eighth-ranked Stillwater