The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 6, 2014

Pacers look to keep hot streak

By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The 6A No. 15 Pacers will look for a fifth straight win and the continuation of a promising pre-playoff run at 6:30 tonight in Elk City, barring any weather-related setbacks.

 “The odds (that the game is played) are looking good, but we still don’t know,” said Enid coach Robb Mills Thursday afternoon.

Enid took the first meeting, the Pacers’ season opener, 45-39 in overtime as sophomore Andi Pierce scored seven of her game-best 17 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, dragging the Pacers (12-5) out of their all-night shooting slump just in time to take advantage of the Lady Elks’ own offensive woes.

“Just going back and watching the film, they shot 20 percent, we shot 24 percent, both teams had a lot of turnovers that we’re not having right now,” Mills said. “I think we’re a lot better than we were then, but I also think they’re improved, too. It’s definitely gonna be a tough game, but I’m happy with the progress we’ve made since that night.”

The Pacers’ iffy stretches have mostly disappeared since their opener, but Elk City’s misfortunes may be making a comeback.

The Lady Elks (10-8) enter tonight coming off a brutal three-game stretch, losing all three to 4A top-5 teams, and all away from Elk City. The Lady Elks have lost five of their last seven after an 8-3 start.

The Pacers are nearing the postseason on a hot streak for the third time in as many seasons, each of the last two ending in surprising first-round losses in the regional tournament.

“I guess our rallying cry right now is ‘one more Saturday,’” Mills said. “That would mean we win our first playoff game. So it’s on their mind, but we know we’ve got to finish the regular season.”

The Plainsmen’s struggles have continued since intermission of their season opener against the 4A No. 17 Elks (12-6). After a promising first half — the first two quarters the Plainsmen played at the Enid Event Center — Elk City deflated Enid’s hopes with a 44-20 advantage in the second half spurred by a 38-point night from Elk City’s Luke Lewallen.

Enid (2-15) hasn’t recovered from its season-opening loss, and tonight will try to recover from their most recent defeat, a 68-44 road drubbing from a Ponca City team the Plainsmen hammered 56-38 last month.

Both games can be heard on KGWA Radio (960 AM)