Timberwolves hang on for wire-to-wire win in first round of playoffs

Feb. 22—EDMOND — Norman North had led for 39:20 of game time and never trailed, but still the fate of the game rested in the open palm of Edmond Santa Fe's Carson Brumbaugh.

It took an impressive performance in order for the Timberwolves to even bring themselves that close to the third-seeded Wolves, but they still weren't playing their best basketball. They turned the ball over 15 times and had several opportunities to close the door late but couldn't quite build a comfortable lead.

The Timberwolves led by three points with seven seconds remaining when they inbounded the ball under their own basket to Noah Jones. The senior point guard received a pass and simply outran Edmond Santa Fe's backcourt.

Nearly corralled again, he found teammate Josiah Thomas, who was fouled and sent to the line needing to hit one of two free throws to give the Timberwolves a two-possession lead with one second remaining. Both free throws missed and Santa Fe had one last hope to force overtime.

Brumbaugh caught Thomas' second miss with one hand, and in a single motion, launched the ball across the court that bounced off the backboard and fell harmlessly to the hardwood.

The Timberwolves secured a 56-53 wire-to-wire upset win to advance to the Deer Creek Regional final on Friday at 7:30 p.m. against the hosting Antlers. They'll have at least two more opportunities to get one more win to advance to the area tournament next week.

Norman North took control of the game early with an 11-3 run early in the first quarter and took a 17-8 lead into the second. Edmond Santa Fe was held to 10 or fewer points in each of the three quarters, but clawed back into the game in the second quarter to trail by three points at halftime.

The Timberwolves had the ball and a seven-point lead with 1:15 remaining in the game, but turned it over on their next possession. The Wolves came back down the court and scored to cut the lead to five.

Then, with under 30 seconds left, Jones hit a pair of free throws to put the Timberwolves back up by eight. On the very next possession, Edmond Santa Fe pushed the ball up the court and got an easy layup.

The Timberwolves turned the ball over again and the Wolves hit a quick three that cut the lead to single digits. Edmond Santa Fe ended up scoring a game-high 18 points in the final quarter, but it wasn't enough to overcome the upset-minded Timberwolves.

Jones finished second on the team with 17 points and had two assists and four rebounds in the win. Hezekiah Green led the Timberwolves with 19 points and five rebounds.

The Timberwolves advance to a regional final for the fourth consecutive season. They'll face a Deer Creek team that is ranked No. 2 in District 1 at 18-5 overall.

The Antlers won both of the two regular season meetings between the two teams, but both games were decided by 12 points or fewer.

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