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Parks' 3 forces overtime, Tigers come back to advance to consolation finals

Feb. 29—The entire gymnasium at Shawnee High School knew who was getting the ball.

When Norman High's Keeley Parks got an inbounds pass in the left corner with under five seconds remaining, three Piedmont defenders immediately put their hands up to defend the shot. The Tigers' point guard couldn't set her feet, and abandoned her typical shooting motion for a quick toss in the direction of the basket for one last prayer to keep the season alive.

The shot banked off the backboard and went in, tying the game with just two seconds remaining.

The Tigers never looked back in overtime, grabbing an early lead and playing tough defense down the stretch to hold on for a 54-51 win.

Parks finished with 31 points and scored 24 after halftime.

Piedmont took control of the game midway through the second quarter, but the momentum changed with one shot in the third.

The possession before, Norman High and Piedmont might as well have been playing four-on-four.

The Wildcats were all over Parks from the opening tip. With the Tigers pushing the ball up the floor quickly, Parks' defender never took her eyes off of her.

Parks could do little but stand 10 feet beyond the arc and watch as her teammates tried to find their own shot. They couldn't convert and the Wildcats went the other way with it before Parks stole it back.

The Wildcats couldn't draw up their typical pressure in transition and Parks rose up from deep behind the 3-point line and drained it. It was just her 10th point of the game, but scored 21 over the next 21:40 of game time.

Midway through the third quarter, the shot cut the Wildcats' lead to two and seemed to spark the impressive offensive performance that followed.

The Tigers went on to nearly match their first-half scoring in the fourth quarter with 16 points.

They still trailed by four with 30 seconds remaining when Parks, again facing a double team, hit a step-back 3-pointer from well behind the arc that cut the deficit to one.

Early in overtime, the Wildcats tried to waste as much clock as they could to try to slow down the Tigers' red-hot offense. Norman High's defense was at its best down the stretch, allowing just two points in overtime.

The Wildcats trailed by three points with 18 seconds left on the clock and couldn't make either of their final two shots to extend the game.

The Tigers trailed by as many as nine points and never led from midway in the first quarter until after the end of regulation.

Destinee Deer finished with 13 points despite fouling out of the game in the fourth quarter and McKinzi Maddocks hit some key 3-pointers to keep the Tigers in the game.

With the win, Norman High advances to the Class 6A West area consolation bracket finals on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Mustang. The winner of that game will advance to the state tournament next week.

The Tigers have now won three straight games facing elimination this postseason.

Tarik Masri is the sports editor for The Transcript covering OU athletics and area sports. You can reach him by emailing tarik@normantranscript.com