With the way Thursday started for Norman, it wouldn't have been a surprise if the Tigers packed it in against No. 13 Midwest City and gotten ready for next year.
Norman had lost six consecutive games coming into the Class 6A regional opener, one of its top scorers, Bethany Cox, was sick and the Tigers started the day out of routine, thinking the game would be postponed because Norman schools were out.
Cox played through it, though, teaming with Taylor Ely to give Norman almost all of its offense as the Tigers pulled out a 44-38 upset win over the Bombers at Norman North.
Midwest City will miss the state tournament for the first time since 2007.
Norman (9-15) advances to play rival Norman North at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the regional finals and clinched a spot in next week's area tournament.
“All year long, little things have killed us,” Norman coach Nichole Copeland said. “We'd be right there and then make a mental mistake or do something else that cost us. We didn't do that tonight even though we tried to give the game away at the end.”
But when the Bombers made a run late that cut what was a 13-point lead to just two, Norman responded consistently, making big baskets on the other end, hitting its free throws and coming up with big defensive stops to pull off the upset.
Ely (28) and Cox (14) combined for all but two of Norman's points, with a pair of Albany Anderson fourth-quarter free throws accounting for the only other points.
Ely and Cox combined for four first-quarter 3-pointers to help Norman build a 12-point lead by early in the second quarter.
“That was huge for us to get out to that kind of a start,” Ely said. “It really kept us going. We're pumped and ready for Norman North.”
Norman North beat Norman 56-43 in the regular-season finale.
“I told the girls, ‘You compete Saturday and go play,'” Copeland said. “There's no pressure on us at all.”
OLIVER PACES PUTNAM CITY
Jayden Oliver's 29 points helped lift Class 6A No. 10 Putnam City to a 58-50 win over Westmoore.
Putnam City lead by four at halftime, then blew the game open with a 19-13 third quarter to take control.
Jamee Moore added 13 for the Pirates, and Taizhon McClurkin scored 11.
Sydney Chastain led Westmoore with 13.
In the other game at Putnam City, Choctaw's Addie Vernon led a balanced attack with nine points as the No. 12 Yellowjackets beat Edmond North 45-41.
Choctaw trailed by seven at halftime before outscoring the Huskies 17-6 in the third.
LAWTON IKE UPSETS PCN
Unranked Lawton Eisenhower clawed back after a slow start, then wore No. 18 Putnam City North down in overtime, beating the Panthers 54-52 at Edmond Santa Fe.
Nikki Smith scored 20 and Crystal Polk added 17 as the Eagles battled back from an 11-point halftime deficit.
Lawton Eisenhower outscored the Panthers 15-8 in the third and 14-10 in the fourth to force overtime.
The Eagles play Class 6A No. 1 Edmond Santa Fe at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Freshman Rebecca Wright scored 20 for Plainview in a 47-41 overtime win over Washington in a 3A regional. ... Bri Kuestersteffen scored 21 points to help Norman North to a 67-26 blowout of Lawton. ... Jordan Gilbert scored 14 and Gioya Carter added 12 — 11 in the first quarter — to help Class 5A No. 3 Carl Albert to a 57-10 win over Southeast. ... Class 6A No. 1 Edmond Santa Fe cruised past U.S. Grant 77-4. Santa Fe led 56-2 after three. ... Alaisha Castleberry scored 20 and Breail Goodlow added 16 as Del City beat Altus 77-33. ... Andee Decker scored 18 to lead Edmond Memorial to a 51-40 win over Yukon at Southmoore. ... Sophomore Kyeria Hannah and senior Kayla Tucker had 12 each in Southmoore's 61-22 blowout of Putnam City West. ... Jentri Thompson scored 13 to help El Reno to a 57-39 win over Bishop McGuinness. The Indians dominated the first half, leading 32-10 at the break. ... Darian Hill scored 26 to help Class 4A No. 8 Harrah to a 65-49 win over Cache.
Oklahoma State signee Stephen Clark scored 40 in Douglass' 99-49 win over Weatherford. ... Adam Keiffer's 18 helped lift Harrah to a 46-41 win over Cache. Harrah will play Ada for the regional title after Ada beat Tecumseh for the first time in three meetings this season. ... Deric Shelton scored 22 to help 3A No. 12 Plainview to a 47-27 win over Washington. ... Class 4A No. 4 Anadarko beat Purcell 42-31.