By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Northern Oklahoma College Enid’s basketball teams begin Oklahoma College Athletic Conference play tonight at Redlands in El Reno. The women will tip off at 6, followed by the men at 8.
The Jets, 5-1, have lost only to Cowley County (Kan.) Community College. Redlands is 0-4 after losing to Pratt (Kan.) Friday.
NOC Enid is led by the trio of Connor Brooks (14.7 ppg), Dalen Qualls (13.3) and Jeremy Espinoza (12.6).
“This is a game where we feel like if we play well we should win,’’ said Jets coach Greg Shamburg. “They like to play slow. We would like to make them play a little faster than they’re used to playing.’’
The Jets lost to Redlands in last year’s conference opener at home, but came back to finish in a tie for second.
“We need to get off to a good start in conference,’’ Shamburg said. “I feel like we should be ready to play. We have a good feel for what they do.’’
The Lady Jets, 5-4 after a loss to Midland College 79-65, will face a test against a 5-1 Lady Cougars team. Butler County (Kan.) Community College handed Redlands its first loss 72-48 Thursday.
“They are really athletic,’’ said NOC Enid coach Scott Morris. “It will be an interesting matchup for sure.’’
Morris said winning a road game in conference would give the Lady Jets some needed momentum.
“But it (importance of conference opener) is whatever spin you want to put on it,’’ he said. “NEO started 0-2 in conference last year and ended up finishing second and going to the national tournament. It’s silly to put on a must win label on it, but you want to get started on the right foot.’’
Marisha Wallace leads the offense with a 21.6 average, followed by Christa Beasler (10.4), Rylie Swanson (9.6) and Chelsea Bates (9.3). Kati Sullivan is expected to come from the injury list tonight, but ex-Enid High School star Regan Crowl’s status is in doubt after she injured an ankle Saturday, Morris said.
Both games can be heard on KCRC Radio (1390 AM).