The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 27, 2012

Lady Jets top NEO minus top player; men complete sweep

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Northern Oklahoma College Enid’s women, with star post Marisha Wallace in the hospital with stomach flu, stunned No. 15-ranked Northeastern A&M 56-52 at the Mabee Center Tuesday.

The Jets completed the sweep for NOC Enid by winning the men’s game 79-56 with five players in double figures — Jeremy Espinoza (17), Dalen Qualls and Kyndall Dudley (15), Connor Brooks (11) and Philip Brown (10).

The sweep raised both NOC Enid teams to 1-1 in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference. It was the third straight win for both teams — the Lady Jets are now 8-5 and the Jets are 8-2.

NOC Enid women’s coach Scott Morris said it was one of most memorable wins, comparing it with the thrill of reaching the Final Four in 2011 and the nationals in 2010.

“I’m so proud of these girls,’’ Morris said. “For the girls to be without Marisha and fight like we did and beat the No. 15 team in the nation, shows we’re right up there with them. We’re back to where we should have been.’’

The Lady Jets, ranked No. 9 in the preseason rankings, fell out of the poll after a 5-5 start.

Morris had challenged his team to step up without  Wallace, who is averaging 24.5 points. He felt the Lady Jets came into a home game as the underdogs for the first time in several years.

“That took a lot of pressure off,’’ he said. “We played with a chip on our shoulder. I saw some things that we’re turning the corner on. We played good, intense defense for 40 minutes and not just in spurts. We were being assertive and aggressive on offense, knowing Marisha wasn’t there to bail us out.’’

The Lady Jets held the Norsewomen scoreless for the last 4:21 after NEO took a 52-51 lead. One shot was a wide-open layup.

“We played some good defense and we got some good breaks,’’ Morris said, “We just played smart and aggressive.’’

Christa Beasler had a season-high 16 points to lead the offense. Paige Eaton had a season-high 13 points.

Alva’s Rylie Swanson had only six points, but she came through in the clutch. She followed her own missed shot to give NOC Enid the lead for good, 53-52 with 3:28 left. She hit two free throws with 12.8 seconds left to make it 55-52. Chelsea Bates’ free throw with 4.3 seconds left sealed the deal.

“Rylie has doing all the dirty work,’’ Morris said.

NOC ENID 79, NEO 56 (M)

The Jets defense stepped up, holding NEO to only 22 of 67 from the field.

The Norsemen stayed close in the first half by pounding the offensive boards. NOC Enid halted that in the second half. Frederico Santos, who scored 11 points on follow shots in the first half, did not score after intermission.

“We didn’t change anything,’’ said Jets coach Greg Shamburg. “We did what we were supposed to do. We were blocking out and being more physical. They really pushed us around under the goal in the first half. I thought we competed defensively.’’

NOC Enid was 28 of 52 from the field and hit on seven three-pointers.

“We were running our offense and making people chase us,’’ Shamburg said. “When we’re moving around like that, it’s hard to guard us for a long time. We got some backdoor stuff. We were better today, no doubt about that.’’

The closest NEO could get in the second half was 45-39 with 15:04 remaining. The Jets answered that with a 13-4 run to go up 58-43 after a Farmer basket with 10:37 remaining.

“We had a lot of people contributing,’’ Shamburg said. “We’re getting more comfortable out there.’’

The Lady Jets will be off until Dec. 6 when they travel to Seminole. The Jets will play in the Conestoga Classic Friday and Saturday, facing Northwest Kansas Tech Friday and Odessa (Texas) College Saturday.