MOORE — The freshmen have arrived.
That was the overwhelming takeaway Tuesday night from Norman North’s 83-76 victory over Moore in a belated season-opener for the Timberwolves.
Coach Butch Roberts started two freshmen — Marcus Dickinson and Lindy Waters III — and brought in a third off the bench in Quan Hogan. And, from the opening tip, the trio didn’t disappoint.
Dickinson scored the game’s first eight points in 66 seconds, and showed his range of skills in doing so, following up a 3-pointer with an and-one drive to the basket. And he very nearly turned in a triple-double, finishing the game with 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
“I was really nervous when the game started, but the team helped me push through it,” he said. “After I made those first few shots, I got real comfortable out there.”
While Dickinson led the way for a phenomenal freshman class, he wasn’t alone. Waters added 15 points and six boards, while Hogan chipped in 10 and six as well.
“They were impressive,” coach Butch Roberts said of the newcomers. “I wasn’t surprised by what they did, but I was a little apprehensive coming into the game.”
With reason. While the youth-filled roster is talented, it’s also inexperienced, something that showed throughout the game. North allowed Moore to stick around despite pushing the lead past 10 points several times, and a couple late turnovers allowed the Lions to get within two possessions late in the game.
“They’re young, and it showed,” Roberts said. “We had streaks of insecurity with the ball, there in the second quarter when we got up as well as late in the game.”
The freshmen combined to score nearly half of the offensive load, and junior Payton Prince took care of the rest. Along with Hogan, Prince joined the basketball team just a week ago after being a key part of the football team’s run to state championship, but the time out of the gym didn’t seem to hurt him. He led the T-Wolves with 22 points and 11 rebounds as North moved to 1-0 on the year after the football team’s run pushed the start of the season back a week.
“We were really anxious to get on the floor,” Roberts said. “The effort was fantastic tonight. We’ve got a long way to go still, but I like where we’re at.”
Moore entered the game with all the momentum. The Lions defeated Norman High last week and then won a tournament in Tahlequah. But they couldn’t stop the T-Wolves’ penetration, and were forced to play most of the game from behind.
It was a balanced effort for Moore, with five players scoring in double figures. Dorion Digger had 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Lions, while Dante Butler had 17 points and Derek Toles added 13.
Corbin HoslerFollow me @Chosler88chosler@normantranscript.com