MIDWEST CITY, Okla. —
By Ryan Costello
MIDWEST CITY — Two games and a pair of hour-and-a-half drives in an 18-hour span didn’t slow the Plainsmen Friday at the Midwest City-Del City Holiday Invitational Tourna-ment.
It turned out the 10 minutes between halves was the bigger problem.
Enid suffocated No. 16 Bixby early to take a seven-point halftime lead, but couldn’t keep the Spartans off the board in the final two quarters, surrendering 48 second-half points to drop their fifth straight game, 64-53.
Enid (2-7) took a 23-16 lead into intermission behind 14 first-half points from Deon Parker, but Bixby (4-5) opened the third quarter on an 8-0 run, taking the lead for good with an and-one layup from Breyden Fivecoats that put the Spartans up 35-33.
After being limited to eight points apiece in the first and second quarters, Bixby bested its first-half total with 21 in the third and 27 in the fourth, outscoring Enid 48-30 in the second half.
“We tried to pick up the pace,” said Enid head coach Ryan Wilkinson. “We were getting out, trapping and trying to play fast, and when that happens, you’re going to give up a few more points.”
After the Plainsmen quickly lost the lead in the third quarter, Wilkinson employed more ball pressure, but the move gave 6-foot-8 Spartan forward Mitch Solomon more room to operate as the junior scored 14 of his 20 after intermission.
“It was successful when we first started,” Wilkinson said. “We got a few quick buckets, then they adjusted.”
After Parker’s first-half 14 put the Plainsmen ahead, the senior guard was limited in both opportunities and output down the stretch, scoring his only other points on a pair of free throws with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter with Enid down double digits.
“He never seemed to get the ball when he was open,” said Wilkinson, who said the Plainsmen tried to run sets to free Parker to no avail. “Early in the game, he was getting good looks … but late in the second half, he wasn’t open, or guys weren’t finding him.”
Less than 18 hours after finishing with 31 turnovers in a loss against top-ranked Midwest City, Enid was again loose with its possessions Friday, surrendering 24 turnovers, including nine in the final quarter.
Parker’s 16 led the Plainsmen, Keon Parker added 10, and Jemarcus Jackson, who hyperextended his knee in the first half, but returned in the second half, also scored 10.
Enid will try to snap its losing streak at 10:30 a.m. today in Midwest City in the seventh-place game against Norman.