Bryan Merritt is usually the one working hardest to increase his team's defensive intensity, so the Norman North coach was excited to see the players fill that role for him in the third quarter of the team's 62-53 victory Friday night.
The Timberwolves turned up the defensive pressure, which produced an 18-5 run in a win over El Reno in the semifinals of the Shawnee Invitational.
“I was happy that the team came out and did that,” Merritt said. “Tonight, I was so frustrated, and they picked me up, picked each other up and held them to five points in that third quarter.”
The team effort on defense produced similar results on the offensive end, with three players scoring in double figures. Marcus Dickinson led the way with 15, while Trae Young added 12 and Kairo Rutledge 10 in the win for the eight-ranked Timberwolves.
Norman North will face Stillwater in the finals at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
Stillwater used a 19-point performance from Carson Teel in a 60-52 win over Sapulpa. Brett Budke added 12, and Trey Holcomb had 11 for the Pioneers.
MILLWOOD RALLIES, TOPS MUSKOGEE
For the second straight time in a semifinal game, Class 2A No. 1 Millwood fought back from a deficit in the second half to advance to the finals.
First, the Falcons did it against Harrah in the Bethany Classic two weeks ago.
This time, the Falcons erased a nine-point deficit to upset Class 6A No. 13 Muskogee 55-52 at Carl Albert's Titan Classic.
“We don't try to make it hard for ourselves,” sophomore Jaloni Friday said. “We just try to come out win and play hard. We try to make it easy on ourselves, not the other team.”
Ashford Golden had 21 points and Friday added 20, including the go-ahead basket with 1:50 remaining.
“They were big,” he said. “I really didn't want to play like no weenie out there, because I'm big too. I just wanted to win and play in the 'ship tomorrow.”
Millwood plays host Carl Albert at 8:30 Saturday in the championship. The Titans held off Bartlesville 48-42. Cameron Warren continued his hot scoring pace, posting 26 points for Carl Albert.
STORM GETS REMATCH WITH UNION
Two weeks ago in the semifinals of the Putnam City Invitational, the Oklahoma City Storm took then-No. 1 Tulsa Union to double overtime before losing by three.
On Saturday night, the Storm will get another shot at the Redskins, this time with even more on the line. Chauncey Collins scored 26 points to lead the Storm to a 67-55 win over Jenks on Friday, setting up the rematch with Union in the title game of the Union-Jenks Invitational.
Mustang, Memorial to meet for title
Isaiah Hammons led four double-figure scorers as Mustang defeated Putnam City North 87-66 in the semifinals of Deer Creeks' Bruce Gray Invitational.
Hammons had 17 points, while Geoffrey Hightower added 14. Jakolby Long and Dearyus Colbert had 12 apiece.
That sets up an 8:30 p.m. title game between the sixth-ranked Broncos and fifth-ranked Edmond Memorial Saturday night.
Memorial got 16 points from Trey Sneed and 15 from Kristian Doolittle in a 59-40 win over Deer Creek Friday.
Elk City's Luke Lewallen had 45 points and 13 rebounds in a 72-58 win over John Marshall. ... Adrion Williams' 30-point performance helped Piedmont cruise to the finals of Kingfisher's Buckle of the Wheatbelt Tournament with a 73-44 win over Chisholm. The Wildcats will face Kingfisher, which got 19 points from Gatlin Squires in a 59-48 win over Heritage Hall.