NORMAN — After three weeks without leading scorer Taylor Ely, the Tigers were finding their way but still in need of a boost.
And they found it Tuesday night, with Ely making her first start since rolling her ankle at the Ardmore tournament. She gave the Tigers the lift they needed, and it translated into a 43-38 victory over Westmoore, a team that defeated the Tigers 10 days ago.
After a first quarter in which NHS dominated the Jaguars, Ely didn’t show any signs of rust or lingering injury. She hit two quick jump shots and a layup while scoring seven of NHS’ first eight points. That catapulted the Tigers to a 13-7 lead after the first frame.
“It felt great to be back out there,” said Ely, who spent five games cheering her team on from the bench. “Once the adrenalin got going I felt fine out there.”
But while she may have been back out on the floor, Ely didn’t appear to be at full strength. She went just 1-for-5 from behind the three-point line and was limping after the game. But that didn’t stop her from scoring a game-high 17 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Ely wasn’t the only Tiger to turn in a big game. Bethany Cox finished with 14 points and five rebounds.
Westmoore did its best to exploit a small size advantage. The Jags forced the ball down low, and Callie Palmer found success on the blocks, scoring 14 points and adding 10 rebounds for the double-double.
The Tigers open the Carl Albert tournament at 11:30 a.m. Thursday against Putnam City.
North boys 63, Southmoore 49: Marcus Dickson and Payton Prince combined for 33 points to lead the Timberwolves past the SaberCats Tuesday night at Southmoore.
Dickson led with 17, Prince chipped in 16 and the Timberwolves were just a little better throughout, outscoring the SaberCats by a bucket or two in every quarter.
The victory moved North to 7-7 on the season with tournament play beginning at Shawnee Thursday. Southmoore, led by Preston Smith’s 14 points and Darius Hodge’s 12, fell to 6-7.
The SaberCats begin play at the annual John Nobles Invitational Thursday at Moore.
Noble girls 46, CCS 42: The Noble girls were spurred on by Lauren Brown’s 17 points and some timely late defensive stops to outlast the Lady Royals.
Brown did most of her damage before halftime, scoring 15 of her game-high total. But the Lady Bears (6-8) and Lady Royals (8-6) stayed close, never separated by more than five points all night.
Down 43-42, CCS had a good look at the basket with about 13 seconds to go, but Brown blocked Abby White’s turnaround jumper. The Bears then converted three free throws to finish it off.
Tori Hale added 12 points for Noble, while CCS was led by a pair of freshmen, Katy Boyles and Hope Wood, with 12 points apiece.