Norman North continued to hit long-range shots as it dropped the Stillwater High boys basketball at Pioneer Fieldhouse on Tuesday.
Stillwater hung tough for the first half, but the Timberwolves’ outside shooting was too much to handle in its season opener. Norman North won 85-59 after outscoring Stillwater 41-30 in the second half.
“You have to give credit to Norman North,” SHS coach Michael Davis said. “They shot the crap out of the ball. I don’t know how many 3s they made. It seemed like everybody they brought in off the bench was knocking down 3s. There’s not a whole lot I can say.”
The Timberwolves (3-0) sank 12 3-pointers in their win. Eight of those came during the second half as they pulled away from Stillwater.
Much like their female counterparts, the Pioneers (0-1) were a bit rusty in their season opener. Their season was delayed a week because the SHS football team was playing in last Friday’s state championship contest.
A handful of those football players were on the hardcourt Tuesday night after less than two full practices with their teammates. None of them started, but most showed flashes of what Davis saw this summer, which is one reason he wasn’t too upset or disappointed in the loss.
“I knew we were going to play some guys who hadn’t been in the gym, so timing and other things were going to be thrown off,” Davis said. “Give Norman North credit, too, because I don’t know what they shot from 3, but it was pretty good. Tonight, they shot lights out. We’ve got a lot of things we need to work on. There were a lot of positives from this game, too. They didn’t quit.
“It’s the first game of the year, and like I told them, we want to win every game at home and they didn’t try to lose the game. I just think sometimes you get caught up in the moment. You’ve got to get mentally prepared to play the game.”
Stillwater was led by senior guard Dylan Smith, who scored 16 points. Twelve of those came in the first half as he tried to keep Stillwater in the game when senior center Hunter Staten was battling foul trouble.
Staten picked up his first foul just 30 seconds into the game, with his second coming less than five minutes into the game. Staten never got into a rhythm in the first half as he picked up his third foul with 4:23 left in the second quarter. He didn’t score in the first half.
Staten didn’t score until 3:28 left in the third quarter and that was a traditional three-point play. He finished with nine points. Fellow starting frontcourt senior Jack Glenn added 14 points, two of which came on a one-handed, fast-break dunk in the fourth quarter that electrified the home student body. One possession later, Staten threw down a dunk, too.
“Hunter has to bring to fight to them to let them know he’s there,” Davis said. “He’s come a long way from where he was three years ago. I believe in Hunter. He’ll get it going. To his credit, he played the whole game in foul trouble. One positive is he knows he can play with four fouls. I thought about sitting him, but I used it as a teaching moment and let him play with those fouls.”
Stillwater will be competing in the Broken Arrow Classic this weekend, beginning with Thursday’s opening round. SHS will play host Broken Arrow at 2:30 p.m.
“We’re a much better team than we showed tonight,” Davis said. “We’ll keep going forward and keep pushing them to get them in shape. Generally, football guys don’t get in shape until Christmas break, so we’ll keep playing those guys and little by little they’ll get to where they were this summer. They were pretty good this summer.”