By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Both NOC Enid men’s coach Greg Shamburg and women’s coach Scott Morris welcome the challenge of facing Jayhawk Conference East power Cowley (Kan.) College in a 5:30 doubleheader tonight at the Mabee Center.
The women’s tip-off is 30 minutes earlier than usual.
Both Cowley teams take 2-0 records into the games. The Tigers have beaten Tabor JV 115-60 and Murray State 65-54. The women have wins over Sterling JV 73-34 and Murray State 78-66.
“These are the type of teams you need to play home-and-home to get a feel of how you play in conference,’’ Shamburg said. “They play similar to us. They have some athletes who get up and down the floor. It will be a good game.’’
“It’s always a fun challenge for both teams because we’re usually at the top of our conferences,’’ Morris said. “This helps prepare both of us for the tough conference games. It’s a win-win situation. You get a lot better test of where your kids are.’’
Cowley’s men have won at the Mabee Center the last two seasons. Cowley’s women beat the Lady Jets in Enid last year as well.
The Jets are 3-0 after a 117-53 win over Hillsdale Baptist Tuesday. NOC Enid is averaging 100 points per game. Ben Berry leads the attack with an average of 20.8 points per game, followed by Cornell Neal, who is averaging 13 points per contest.
Jovan Crnic (7.3), Cory Alpough (6.3) and Josh Palmer (4.8) will join them in the starting lineup.
“For as young as we are, we’re doing a pretty good job,’’ Shamburg said. “The defense hasn’t been as good as I hoped it would be at this point, but the guys are playing hard and learning and doing the right things. As long as we’re making progress, we have a chance of being good.’’
Shamburg said the defense, which is yielding 76.7 points per game, has been affected by hand checking being called harder.
“Sometimes that makes you a lot less aggressive,’’ Shamburg said. “The kids are afraid of fouling. There will be an adjustment period. Depth is really going to be important this year. We have had that so far.’’
The Lady Jets (2-1) can testify to that after all five starters fouled out in an 89-82 loss to Independence, Kan., on Saturday.
“The good thing has been our depth and how much we have been able to rotate people,’’ Morris said. “You have to earn a starting spot on a daily basis on how you practice. We have the luxury of being able to maintain a high level of intensity in practice. It keeps everybody’s attention.’’
Breck Clark leads the Lady Jets in scoring at 14.3 points per game. Kori Barrios, averaging 13 points per game, is the lone NOC player who has been in double figures all three games.
Morris said he’s undecided about his lineup.
He said Cowley has a different look than in the past.
“You’re always reloading in junior college,’’ Morris said. “At this point of the season, you haven’t figured out your own team yet. You look for people to step up and do the best we can from there.’’