Special to The Sun
OKLA. CITY —
Playoff drama doesn’t unfold any better than it did Friday night when the Edmond North Huskies faced the Moore Lions in the Class 6A regional playoffs at Putnam City West High School.
For nearly the entire 32 minutes of regulation, the Huskies fought with every ounce of energy they had to stay close to the Lions in hopes of having a chance to sneak away with a win.
The Huskies accomplished the goal of taking a late lead, but they left just enough time on the clock for Moore to tie the game and force overtime.
Moore’s Jaylon Wilson hit a jumper with 2.8 seconds remaining to tie the score at 64 and force the extra period.
An 8-0 run to start the overtime stanza then helped the Lions to a 76-70 victory and eliminated the Huskies from the postseason.
“When you play a lot of close games, you’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some,” said Steven Goss, North head coach. “To win those games, you got to do some little things a little bit better. We missed some free throws and gave up some offensive rebounds. It’s just frustrating to lose those games.”
Two Moore Lions gave the Huskies headaches for most of the night. Juniors Brayden Powell and Wilson combined for 47 points — 24 and 23, respectively. Ten of Powell’s points came on slam dunks.
Despite Moore’s scoring tandem, North continued to switch up its defense consistently throughout the game. On at least three occasions, Goss turned to a smaller lineup for a full-court press that resulted in turnovers and points.
Rifqi Shahab, Tyson Anderson, Kevin Galloway, Marques Wilson and Rizki Shahab forced Moore to spread the floor and limit dribble penetration. They kept the Lions from ever leading by more than nine points.
The Huskies collected 13 turnovers in the game due in large part to the pressure defense.
“We’ve called that the press group all year and they’ve really adapted to that,” Goss said. “It kind of brings a change of pace. I thought they did a great job bringing energy and changing the game. It was definitely a big thing for us.”
Senior Rifqi Shahab, who came off the bench and played most of the game, led the Huskies in scoring with 25 points, including three 3-pointers.
The Huskies’ big men also helped out in the scoring column. Freshman Harrison Stoddart, a 6-7 forward, added 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and senior Mark Piatt, a 6-4 forward, followed with nine. Piatt also grabbed six rebounds in the game and Stoddart pulled down five. Stoddart also recorded five blocked shots.