The Oklahoman

Norman gets best of North in Crosstown Clash rematch

- Ryan Aber and Nick Sardis

The Crosstown Clash kicked off the Class 6A girls state tournament Thursday morning.

Norman and Norman North have history, and the two obviously don’t care for each other too much.

That was on full display in the quarterfinals.

Hard fouls. Shoves. Back-and-forth bickering.

But just as it had done when the teams met twice in the regular season, Norman took care of business.

With Kayla Jones and Nessa Begay leading the way, the Tigers defeated Norman North 62-47, advancing to a semifinal matchup against the Edmond Memorial-Tulsa Booker T. Washington winner.

Jones led Norman (21-4) with 18 points and 10 rebounds and made 8 of 12 shots from the field. Begay had 17 points, six rebounds and five assists and finished 6-of-8 shooting.

The game was tied at 12 at the end of the first quarter, and Norman led 22-20 at halftime. The Tigers pulled away after the break as it hit 14 of 23 shots from the field in the third and fourth.

Four players fouled out — Norman North’s Hannah Fields, Avery Robbins and Olivia Watkins and Norman star Keeley Parks.

Parks, a sophomore, came into the tournament averaging 20.9 points per game but struggled Thursday, finishing with three points. Parks, one of the nation’s top recruits in her class, hit just 1 of 13 shots and was 0 of 5 from 3-point range, although she did have eight rebounds, five steals and four assists.

“Trying too hard,” said Norman coach and Parks’ dad, Frankie Parks. “I think that’s what it comes down to. This is their third crosstown rivalry game. She had a tremendous game in one and two. Today, she wanted to do the same. Just didn’t work for her.”

Edmond Memorial 57, Tulsa Booker T. Washington 48

When Tulsa Booker T. Washington hit an avalanche of 3-pointers late in the third quarter, things started to get tight on the Edmond Memorial side.

“It was a bit like, ‘Oh, crap,’” Bulldogs’ standout Addy Johnson said. “I don’t think we ever put our heads down. We just fought through it and just stayed together as a team.”

The Bulldogs used that urgency to their advantage, turning up the heat defensivel­y down the stretch to advance to a semifinal meeting with Norman.

“We knew it was going to be a defensive brawl,” Memorial coach Rachel Crabaugh said. “Offense was going to take care of itself, but on the defensive end, you’ve got to be able to make stops.”

The win was Memorial’s first in the state tournament since 2012.

Edmond North 70, Bixby 58

Aday after being named the Gatorade Oklahoma Girls Basketball Player of the Year, Laci Steele showed everyone why she earned that title.

The Edmond North star and NC State signee was outstandin­g in the Huskies’ Class 6A state quarterfinal game against Bixby, scoring 29 points while leading her squad to a 70-58 victory Thursday at Lloyd Noble Center.

Edmond North (27-0) and Bixby (19-9) met in the state finals last year. A close battle, Edmond North topped the Spartans 59-57 in overtime after Toni Papahronis — now at Navy — hit a buzzer-beating layup.

But this matchup didn’t include a dramatic ending.

With Steele leading the charge, Edmond North was in control throughout and held 7-point leads at the end of the first and second quarters before pulling away after the break.

Steele was efficient, hitting 11 of 15 shots from the field and 4 of 5 from 3point range. She also had six rebounds, including five on offense.

“She’s been that good for us since she came as a freshman,” Edmond North coach Pete Papahronis said. “She thrives in these games. She gives a lot of stuff for us.”

Allison Heathcock also had a stellar game for Edmond North. She had 19 points.

Putnam City West 45, Broken Arrow 36

Broken Arrow’s McKenzie Mathurin was a one-woman wrecking crew in the first half of Friday’s Class 6A semifinals.

Mathurin lived at the free-throw line, scoring 10 of her 18 first-half points there.

But Putnam City West switched up their defensive strategy at halftime, and it worked in a major way.

“Just face guard her on the dribble,” the Patriots’ Jayla Constant said. “We just face-guarded her and all of their ball-handlers.”

It worked.

Putnam West held the Tigers to just 11 points on 5-of-20 shooting in the second half.

Broken Arrow was just 2 of 14 from the floor in the fourth quarter.

The Patriots didn’t lead until early in the second half, scoring the first nine points coming out of the break.

After going 11 of 14 at the free-throw line in the first half, the Tigers didn’t attempt a free throw after halftime.

Mathurin led Broken Arrow (18-9) with 23 points.

 ?? SISNEY/FOR THE OKLAHOMAN STEVE ?? Norman's Jordyn Rollins (33) tries to get past Norman North's Hannah Fields (1) during the Class 6A state tournament quarterfinals.
SISNEY/FOR THE OKLAHOMAN STEVE Norman's Jordyn Rollins (33) tries to get past Norman North's Hannah Fields (1) during the Class 6A state tournament quarterfinals.

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