Patrick Grimes knew life could change by entering the starting lineup on the Edmond North boys basketball team.

It wasn’t until this week, though, that he realized the connection between that and opening the season against arch rival No. 1 — Edmond Memorial.

“You know, you get a lot of questions,” Grimes said. “Everybody wants to know if we’re going to win. Everybody’s talking about it.”

In traditional fashion, Memorial and North will open the basketball season with a bang tonight at 6:15 and 7:45 p.m. at Memorial.

At North, most of the players who will see the court are first-timers in this rivalry. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t fully aware of the magnitude.

“I’ve been waiting for this for probably my entire high-school career,” Husky Ryan Miller said. “It’s a big rivalry. Memorial is probably bigger than even Santa Fe for me, because I know a lot of people over there. It’s going to be fun.”

The rivalry may have really reached the next level in 1999 when the Huskies and Bulldogs met in a Class 6A area championship contest. North won that game, but Memorial bounced back to win four straight and make it all the way to the state finals.

Since, the massive crowds and last-second finishes have continued. Last season, though, may have been the best of the bunch. Unregarded Memorial knocked off the second-ranked Huskies, 56-54, in overtime when Justin Robinson’s 17-foot jumper dropped in with three seconds left.

At the end of regulation, Robinson also hit another shot that appeared to be a game-winner. But the noise inside the Siberian Gymnasium was so loud it managed to drown out the final buzzer, making it impossible for the officials to tell whether or not he got the shot off in time. It was eventually waved off.

“Our games against them are always pretty crazy,” Grimes said. “We’ve all been waiting for this game to come back around ever since last year.”

Memorial entered last season’s game without a single returning starter. The tables are turned somewhat this year, as North is the squad fresh with new faces and the Bulldogs are ranked in the top 10.

“It’s a good first test for us to see where we stand as a team. We’ll get to see what we need to build on,” Miller said. “It’ll be loud and there’ll be pressure put on us, so we’ll get to see how we stand up to pressure.”

The girls contest also is expected to be quite a tussle. Memorial has four returning starters back off a team that advanced to the area finals, but the Lady Huskies manage to play them tough every time out.

Last year, North led, 32-31, going into the fourth period, before the Lady Bulldogs rallied for a 44-38 victory.

Recommended for you