The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 5, 2014

NOC Enid basketball gets back to work

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Northern Oklahoma Enid men’s basketball head coach Greg Shamburg isn’t fretting about his limitations after having a torn Achilles tendon repaired over the Christmas holidays.

He’ll have to coach sitting down leaving the moving around to assistants Drew Bridges and Zach Howe when the Jets resume practice.

“That’s all right,’’ Shamburg said. “I’ll be fine. I’m ready to go. I’m tired of sitting around the house. I want to get back in the gym.  The guys are ready to start practicing again.’’

NOC Enid (9-4) hasn’t played since an impressive 79-57 win over Eastern on Dec. 5.

“The break was a little long, but it was good for us,’’ Shamburg said. “The guys will be excited about coming back.’’

While Shamburg is on the injury list, freshman Jordan Evans is coming back from a broken hand, which sidelined him the last six games of the first half. Evans was averaging 13.1 points at the time of his injury, including back-to-back games of 24 points against the Bacone JV and 21 against Cowley.

“We missed him a lot down the stretch,’’ Shamburg said. “He was really getting comfortable when he got hurt. It will take him a while to get back in shape, but he’ll be fine.’’

Evans’ shooting was especially missed in the four losses — 82-73 to Cowley, 87-83 to Seminole, 79-76 to Connors and 77-74 to NOC Tonkawa.The Jets had second-half leads in all four games.

“We should have won all four games, but we didn’t play poorly,’’ Shamburg said. “The guys were ready to play and they played hard. The  freshmen just have to learn to become college basketball players, which I think they will do.’’

His team’s inexperience was one reason Shamburg doesn’t like playing conference games in December.

“But we don’t have a choice about that,’’ Shamburg said. “Freshmen do have a learning curve.’’

Ben Berry, coming back from a broken foot that sidelined him last season, didn’t show any rust, averaging 15.7 points per game.

“We knew he would be a very good player,’’ Shamburg said.

Two freshmen — Cornell Neal (11.4) and Daryck Jones (12.9) averaged in double figures as well.

“Cornell played on a team (Midwest City) that’s been to the state finals,’’ Shamburg said. “We knew he would be a good player. He didn’t turn it over a lot.”

Jones finished the first semester with six-straight games in double figures, including 20 against Seminole.

“He didn’t shoot the ball early, but once he got comfortable, he started making shots,’’ Shamburg said. “We look for him to continue that.’’

Freshman Josh Palmer, a 6-6 inside player out of Union, was in double digits four of the last five games after having only scored 31 points in the first eight.

“Jordan was up-and-down,’’ Shamburg said. “The key to the second half is getting our big guys to get more consisent. Sometimes they would get in foul trouble and get lost in the game.They did get better as the season went along.’’

Luis Morales, a 6-7 freshman, had a season-high 19 points against Central Nebraska Nov. 30. He was in double figures four times.

Corey Alopaugh and Roy Owens, other freshmen inside players, had their moments as well when in Shamburg’s deep rotation.

DeAngelo Smith, a 5-10 guard from Oklahoma City Douglass, finished out the semester with 17 against Eastern. He had 19 against Rhema Bible, 16 against Bacone JV and 17 against Tabor JV.

“He’s another guy who has a lot of talent, but needs to be more consistent,’’ Shamburg said.

Jovan Crnic, a 6-5 guard from Serbia, was “playing well’’ until he sprained his ankle, forcing him to miss the Eastern game. Shamburg expects him to be healthy for the second half.

Sophomores John Lazenby III and Marquavius Williams were solid role players off the bench. Lazenby was in double figures four times.

The Jets are back in action at 7 p.m. Monday when they host Hillsdale Christian at the Mabee Center.

Lady Jets return with rare healthy lineup

Northern Oklahoma College Enid women’s coach Scott Morris found himself in a different kind of position when the Lady Jets basketball team returned to practice this past week.

The Lady Jets, beseiged by injuries the past year-and-a-half were healthy for a change with the exception of already season-ending knee injuries to Kati Sullivan and Paige Eaton.

“Everybody else should be ready to go,’’ Morris said. “Hopefully, that will help us keep our momentum (from a 73-63 win over Independence, Kan., Dec. 7). The break certainly allowed everyone to get healthy.’’

The Lady Jets, who haven’t played since Dec. 7, will be virtually starting over after going 9-5 the first half of the season. NOC Enid hosts Trinadad, Colo., at 5 p.m. on Monday at the Mabee Center.

“We made a lot of progress the first half,’’ Morris said. “I think we’re starting to figure things out. Hopefully, that will continue the second semester and we can pick up where we left off.’’

The first priority is “to get the kids back in shape and get them back familiar with their teammates,’’ Morris said.

The second priority is to develop the consistency that the freshmen-dominated team sometimes lacked in November and December.

“We just need to play hard and get consistent and predictable on our end,’’ Morris said. “We spent the first semester figuring out our roles. Being healthy helps. It will be nice to focus on what we need out of each player.’’

Rylie Swanson (14.7 ppg) did a “great job of leadership’’ as the team’s only healthy experienced sophomore, Morris said.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her,’’ he said.

Freshman Breck Clark was a scoring machine with a team-leading 19.7 average, including  31-point efforts against Colwey and NOC Tonkawa.

“I wasn’t surprised with how she played, but I was surprised how easy she made it look,’’ Morris said. “She looked really natural out there.’’

Hammon freshman Kori Barrios, who had a strong start (12.2 average after six games) before injuries hit, is back to full speed. Barrios’ health will be a major key the second half of the year.

Little Rock freshman Kiara Moore, another injury victim, was back for the final game before break. She averaged 9.3 points per game before the injury.

Tierra Coffey, a high school teammate of Moore, had 7.7 scoring average the first semester, including a 20-point effort against Nebraska Central. She did a good job learning a new position, Morris said.

Kanesha Woods, another Little Rock Hall product, averaged 6.9 points as both a starter and coming off the bench. Morris hopes to use her off the bench the second half.

“She a good spark plug and brings a lot of energy off the bench,’’ Morris said. “It’s nice to use that in spurts.’’

Freshman guard Shelbie Kirby of Collinsville started to develop midway through the semester. She averaged 6.3 points per game, but had three double-digit games in the last six outings.

“She was one of those that we had trouble defining what we need out of her,’’ Morris said. “She had a great attitude and is now figuring out where we need her. She is starting to get consistent and more confident in what she’s doing.’’

Hannah Holasek, a 5-11 freshman, was hurt by missing the preseason because of injuries. She might be one most helped by the break.

“We had to throw her in before she developed a foundation,’’ Morris said. “This will allow her to regroup and come back strong. She’s an extremely talented player and we’re counting on her to do a lot of good things.’’

Fast, a sophomore out of Fairview, missed much of the first half with shoulder problems that plagued her last season. Her return, Morris said, will give the Lady Jets some needed physical play inside and some energy off the bench.

Waukomis’ Sadie Perry has gotten good marks for her defense and “intangibles that aren’t as noticeable in the box score,’’ Morris said.

Maggie Simpson, an inside player off the bench, “is coming along well and we expect great things out of her.’’

“Junior college basketball is two separate seasons,’’ Morris said. “We have to link the things together that we did well the first half. This does give us a fresh start on what we need to improve on.’’