NORMAN — Norman North’s stellar freshmen had their moments, but it was the upperclassmen at Norman High who stood tallest at the Crosstown Clash on Thursday night.
Senior Sam Blodgett led a balanced NHS attack with 23 points and nine rebounds, and the Tigers outpaced the T-Wolves to a 74-54 victory.
The best of both teams was on display in front of a packed gym at Norman North. After falling behind early, North’s freshmen trio of Marcus Dickinson, Quan Hogan and Lindy Waters led a big North run that put the T-Wolves on top 19-18.
But that’s as good as it would get for North. Led by a core group of seniors, NHS went on a 15-0 run that put the Tigers on top 33-19 and firmly re-established their control of the game.
“Two years ago, we came back on them and went on to win, and I didn’t want to be that guy who let it happen to him,” NHS senior Jay Finley said after the game. “Tonight, we just kind of put things together.”
Putting things together meant a huge game for Blodgett and improved outside shooting for the Tigers. Blodgett finished with 23 points, nine rebounds and three assists for the Tigers, but it was a balanced effort that keyed the victory. Four players scored at least eight points for NHS, while senior captain Daniel Harper coordinated the offense and handed out six assists to go along with five rebounds and two points.
“This was clearly our best team effort of the season,” coach Matt Thornton said. “And, of course, the ball went into the basket. That seems to make everything fall into place. That got us going, and confidence can be a dangerous thing.”
Thornton was especially pleased with the way his team responded after falling behind to a North team that was playing just its third game of the season, as opposed to the Tigers’ eighth.
“The seniors played like seniors tonight,” he said. “With seven games under our belts, we talked about how everyone who’s been out there is experienced now. This win was huge for our confidence. Tonight, everything just started to click.”
It was the complete opposite for North. The T-Wolves were unable to contain Blodgett on both ends of the floor, and the NHS big man altered a number of T-Wolves’ drives to the basket. North also had a rough night shooting the ball, with numerous shots rolling out of the rim throughout the night.
North coach Butch Roberts predicted it would be an ugly game, and he was right. The two teams combined to shoot 54 free throws, and while North had the better end of that with 34 attempts, the T-Wolves were only able to connect on 21.
Dickinson led North with 21 points and six rebound, while Hogan added seven points and seven boards.
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com