By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Oh, what a difference a month-and-a-half can make.
Forty-two days after losing 66-46 to host Woodward on Dec. 18, the Plainsmen returned the favor, routing the Boomers 54-33 on homecoming Tuesday night at the Mabee Center.
Aaron Austin set the pace for Enid, scoring a game-high 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting, adding six rebounds and a game-high four steals, and the Plainsmen (6-11, unranked in 6A) followed suit, snaring 12 steals and holding Woodward to single-digit scoring in three of four quarters.
“We know we can bring it on the offense end, so we wanted to try to do both,” Austin said. “They beat us last time, so we (wanted) our revenge … It meant a lot to us. We felt like we could have went out there the first time and beat them. Playing them again, it boosted our confidence up, so we came out and worked as a team.”
Woodward (8-10, unranked in 4A) started hot and seldom cooled off in the teams’ first meeting, and looked at first like it might repeat the shooting exhibition on Tuesday, when Kaleb Roach hit an easy corner three on the Boomers’ first attempt from the field, hooting and shaking his hand after it sank.
After that, Woodward missed 18 of 21 attempts from deep
“We talked pregame about really having to run those guys off the three-point line,” said Enid coach Ryan Wilkinson. “When they get hot out there, they get going, they’re hard to (slow down) … That first one wasn’t a very good close out on Roach, when he hit that one in the corner, we didn’t have a very good close out there … After that, we did a much better job closing out and picking up the defensive intensity.”
Austin scored seven of his 17 in the first quarter as Enid took an 18-13 lead, and Correll Baker and Harrison Maud hit back-to-back threes in the second to put the Plainsmen up 26-13, capping a 10-3 run that started in the first.
Austin forced consecutive Woodward turnovers in the third quarter, and Deon Parker stole another pass, scoring on a breakaway layup to give Enid a 32-20 lead. It was a lead that never fell below double digits.
As the Plainsmen starters left the floor for the final time and were replaced by reserves, players hugged and high-fived, chanting for their backups as the final minute-plus ticked off in the team’s first home win of the season.
“I’m seeing signs of us being a little bit more consistent,” Wilkinson said. “Earlier in the year, it was game-by-game, we were up-and-down … If we can continue that trend and get several in row here that we’re playing at a really high level … hopefully we can string a couple together here.”
Taylan Illif was Woodward’s only player in double figures with 11.
The Plainsmen host Ponca City at 8 p.m. Thursday.
No. 8 PACERS 56, WOODWARD 32
For the second time this season, the Pacers beat Woodward.
For the first time, the game wasn’t close.
Enid started fast and slowed only briefly, outscoring Woodward 31-13 in the second half to rout the visiting Boomers 56-32 Tuesday at the Mabee Center.
“Give a lot of credit to the girls,” said Enid coach Robb Mills. “We came out with a bang, which is what I wanted.”
The Pacers visited Woodward on Dec. 18, Enid’s seventh game of the season, they won 60-53, but expected better against an unranked 4A team.
“I think we kind of proved where we should be against this team better than we did last game,” said Enid forward Grace Enmeier. “We’ve been working hard at practice, and playing harder teams in tournaments, so I think we came to play today.”
Enid (14-3) hit its first four shots, including a pair of threes from Courtney Chelf, and shot four-of-five from the the free throw line in the opening quarter to lead 21-9 going into the second.
Woodward closed the gap in the second quarter, but could have come closer as the Pacers hit just one of their first seven shots in the second with five turnovers over the same span.
The Lady Boomers pulled to within 25-19 at half, but never came closer, and after Woodward pulled within eight in the third, an Enmeier putback sparked an 8-0 run that put Enid up 39-23 to all but seal the win.
Shelley Mueller was efficient in her first home start, her fourth overall after entering the lineup when freshman Andi Pierce suffered a season-ending injury in an ATV accident.
The 5-foot-6 junior had two points on two shots with three rebounds and a steal.
“It’s a lot more pressure at the beginning, but you get more into the flow (of the game) starting,” Mueller said. “And my teammates are always there to back me up.”
“She’s really smart,” Mills said. “She always pays attention to detail on defense, always knows who to guard and she’s a good help defender … We’re really happy with her.”
Chelf finished with a game-high 24 points, Abby Lee had 14 and Grace Enmeier had eight points and 11 rebounds for the Pacers, who host Ponca City at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.