In its final Sunset League game this season, Ocean View High School was struggling in the third quarter against Westminster. Coach Jim Harris called timeout and asked, "Is there a man among you?"
Center Todd Norman answered, "Yes."
"It seemed like the answer coach was looking for, so I figured it might as well be me who said it," Norman said.
Norman sparked a comeback that saw the Seahawks rally from six-points down in the final quarter for a 66-63 victory.
Norman, The Times' player of the week, has provided leadership all season for Ocean View. But it's usually through actions instead of words.
Before the season began, Harris told Norman and junior guard Mike Frohn they were going to be the team's captains. They accepted, under the condition they didn't have to be vocal leaders.
"Mike and I are not the type of guys that bang on lockers or anything like that," Norman said. "When coach told us before the season that he wanted us to be co-captains, we said that if we could do by example, we take the job."
Norman's example Thursday night was to score 34 points in a 91-88 victory over St. Paul in the first round of the Southern Section 5-A playoffs. Norman, who also had 12 rebounds, made two free throws with 10 seconds left to clinch the victory.
"His presence on the court can rally make the difference," Harris said. "One of his best games this year was against Westminster and he only scored six points. But he held (Chris) Tower to 13 points and Tower was averaging 23 a game at the time."
Harris has come to expect that presence.
Even as a freshman, Norman demonstrated his ability to lead a team. The Seahawks' freshmen got off to a slow start during December, but came back to win the league title with a 7-3 record.
"Todd was the difference," Harris said. "He just took over and wouldn't let that team lose."
Norman sees a lot of similarities between that freshman team and this season's varsity.
After a slow start in December, Ocean View has won 12 of its last 13 games. The Seahawks finished 9-1 in Sunset League play, losing only to Fountain Valley in the league opener.
"It was the same way as freshmen," said Norman, a 6-foot 5-inch junior. "We lost to Fountain Valley in the first game, then went on to win the league. Both times, it just took a little while for us to adjust to our roles."
Ocean View High School
Height, Class: 6-5, 230, Jr.
Last Week: Norman scored 34 points and had 12 rebounds in Ocean View's 91-88 victory over St. Paul in the first round of the Southern Section 5-A playoffs. Norman clinched the victory by making two free throws in the final 10 seconds.
Season: Norman is averaging 16 points and 9.5 rebounds.