Cameron Jourdan, Oklahoman
Printed 5: 49 p.m. ET March 13, 2021
TULSA, OK. – The standing ovation started with more than a minute left on the clock.
Fans donning orange and murky slowly started rising and clapping, cheering on contributors of the Norman, Oklahoma girls basketball team as the clock ticked down. Even some Bixby fans, the Tigers’ opponent Saturday, joined in.
The Tigers deserved it.
For his or her undefeated season. For his or her speak championship. For his or her adversity by a tumultuous week.
It became a trying season for the Norman girls basketball team. Coronavirus quarantines and cancellations rocked the agenda. Then an announcer directed racist feedback at them when gamers kneeled during the national anthem sooner than Thursday’s game.
The attack on the Norman team came from broadcaster Matt Rowan, the proprietor and operator of the streaming carrier OSPN, who later told The Oklahoman he became the one that made the racially horrible remarks.
“They’re kneeling? (Expletive) (racial slur),” he said. “I am hoping Norman get their ass kicked. (Expletive) them. I am hoping they lose…They’re going to kneel worship that? Hell no.”
Rowan apologized Friday and blamed his use of racist language on his blood sugar ranges. The fable went viral and became lined all around the nation by a large alternative of media retail outlets as the gamers in many circles were lauded as heroes.
In the game, high-ranked Norman dominated in the second half of and beat No. 6 Bixby 48-37 at Oral Roberts’ Mabee Middle to win their second straight Class 6A speak championship and the sixth in school history. The Tigers also finished the season undefeated at 19-0, putting a feather in the cap on one among the most a hit three-three hundred and sixty five days runs by a program in speak history.
“It be awesome, but I am in actuality cheerful that I fair get to play with these girls,” Norman senior Kelbie Washington said. “These girls are what makes it totally different.”
After winning the speak title in 2019, Norman became the favourite final season sooner than the speak tournament became canceled. Some fans started chanting three-peat during the celebration.
Washington, an OU signee, dominated in the second half of. She scored the Tigers first seven points after intermission, the first two coming off consecutive steals that compelled a Bixby timeout handiest a minute in.
“It became a terribly correct thing for us,” Washington said of the second-half of wander. “In particular the girls motivating me to play defense. I think that is the the clarification why I purchased these steals became attributable to of the girls.”
Washington finished with a team-high 15 points to defend company with three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Aaliyah Henderson also scored in double figures, adding 10 points.
Bixby (19-6 general) trailed 21-17 entering the third quarter, but it became never in a position to garner momentum attributable to of turnovers and overlooked 3-point photos. Coming in, the Spartans were on a skedaddle shooting from behind the arc. Against Norman, Bixby made handiest one among its 10 3-point makes an attempt. It also had 14 turnovers.
Norman senior Chantae Embry, a Texas Tech signee, also became trusty defensively and on the boards. She finished with eight points, eight rebounds and two steals. She said her and Washington’s bond helped them dominate in the direction of the season.
“Kelbie has been my handiest pal since worship fourth grade,” Embry said. “She’s no longer only my handiest pal, she’s worship my sister on and off the court docket.”
Because the clock continued to wind down in the direction of the finish of the contest, Norman’s gamers started embracing on the court docket and the cheering purchased louder.
Washington had the ball in her hands correct sooner than the buzzer. She dribbled all around the ground a number of instances sooner than heaving the ball in the air as the horn sounded, sparking the celebration.
The applause from either aspect became warranted as the clock ticked away. So became the celebration of one other championship season.
“This complete season, from final three hundred and sixty five days to this moment now, it be fair been an amazing wander,” Norman coach Michael Neal said.
Reporter Cameron Jourdan covers high school sports all around the Oklahoma City metro and speak. Have a fable belief for Cameron? He will almost certainly be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @Cam_Jourdan. Enhance Cameron’s work and that of alternative Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription this day at oklahoman.com/subscribe or by using the link on the head of this page.