By Bruce Campbell
Therone Chilton went full court for the game-winning layup at the buzzer as No. 11-ranked Eastern Oklahoma College overcame a 21-point halftime deficit to beat Northern Oklahoma College Enid, 72-70 Thursday at the Mabee Center.
The Mountaineer comeback gave Eastern a split on the night. The No. 11-ranked Lady Jets, behind 23 points from Ashlyn Briegge and 19 from Marisha Wallace, routed the Lady Mountaineers 76-43 for their fourth straight victory, raising their record to 13-2 overall and 4-0 in the Oklahoma College Athletic Conference.
Chilton’s layup gave the Mountaineers their only lead of the night. It was set up by NOC Enid’s 19th turnover of the second half on a tied ball while the Jets worked to get the winning shot.
Eastern had shot only five-of-35 from the field and 10-of-24 from the line in trailing 42-21 at halftime. The Mountaineers were 16-of-32 from the field and 14-of-21 from the line after intermission.
“You never quit,’’ said Eastern coach Scott Edgar. “The game is played in two halves. We didn’t play very well the first half. We missed a ton of free throws. We needed to get inside and try to regroup. I’m very proud of my guys.’’
The Jets, who dropped to 10-5 overall and 2-2 in the conference, didn’t score a field goal for the last 6:01. They managed only four free throws over the last six minutes.
“We didn’t play with a lot of composure,’’ said a disappointed Jets assistant coach Ryan Mahoney. “We’ve got to realize that you have to play 40 minutes to win. We had a great first half. We can’t sit on that and expect that to hold us up for the whole 40 minutes. No composure.’’
Bobby Jones and Rod Lewis led Eastern with 14 points. Jones had 11 points after intermission while Lewis had eight points.
The Jets were only 8-of-22 from the field in the second half after going 15-of-33 in the first half. They were 18-of-30 from the line overall, including 10-of-17 after intermission.
NOC Enid, until the Chilton layup, had led from start to finish. They jumped out to a 10-1 lead and had leads of 25-8 and 37-17 before going into the locker room up 42-21 after Phillip Brown scored on a follow shot at the buzzer.
Edgar told his team “to scrap’’ going into the second half.
NOC Enid had a 48-26 lead after two free throws by Connor Brooks with 16:40 left. Eastern answered with a 12-0 run to knock the advantage down to 48-36 with 14:33 left after two free throws by Jones.
Chilton hit two free throws with 4:38 left to cut the lead to 66-63. Trey Cohee hit two free throws with 1:39 left to make it 70-66 in favor of the Jets. However, back-to-back baskets by Joe Ebondo would tie the game for the first time at 70-70.
Xavier McClish and Dalen Qualls led the Jets with 13 points. Cohee had 10.
Eastern raised its record to 15-1 overall and 3-1 in conference.
NOC ENID 76,
EASTERN 43 (W)
The Lady Jets raced off to a 16-1 lead to open the game and never looked back. Eastern didn’t score from the field until its 11th posession.
Justice Payne joined Briegge and Wallace in double figures with 14 points.
Eastern was only 6-of-29 from the field in trailing 39-19 at halftime. It was the third straight win for the Lady Jets.
“We have started to turn the corner,’’ said Lady Jets coach Scott Morris. “With all the new faces we were a little inconsistent in the first half (of the season). I’m not saying we’re over that, but we’re showing signs of stablizing. Instead of little pockets of three minutes here and three minutes there, we’re making stretches of 10 minutes. Now we’ve got to cut the three to five minutes of dead spots in between.’’
Briegge had her sixth 20-point-plus game. She hit four 3s, including three in a row in the second half. Wallace was almost unstoppable inside.
“What are you going to do, swarm her (Wallace) and leave Ashlyn and Justice open outside,’’ Morris said. “That’s a great threat that we have. It’s hard for me to know when Ashlyn is hot because she is so consistent. Her normal is hot. It was good to get everybody some action.’’
NOC Enid will host Western in a 6 p.m. women’s-men’s doubleheader Monday.
EASTERN 72, NOC ENID 70
EASTERN 21 51 — 72
NOC ENID 42 28 —70
Eastern — Bobby Jones 14, Rod Lewis 14, Therone Chilton 13, Devante Callaway 9, Marcus Tarrance 8, Joe Ebondo 6, McClung 4, Antwan Cathey 2, Brett Lincoln 2.
NOC Enid - Xavier McClish 13, Dalen Qualls 13, Kyndall Dudley 10, Travis Carbajal 9, Jeremy Espinoza 5, Connor Brooks 4, Phillip Brown 4, Brandon Burns 2.
NOC ENID 76, EASTERN 43
EASTERN 16 27 — 43
NOC ENID 34 42 — 76
Eastern — Trina Goree 10, Demtra Holingwolf 9, Ashley Catlett 8, Fontasia Jass 5, Hailey Stewart 4, Skyler Burns 3, Brandy Whitmore 2, Jamie Hicks 2
NOC Enid — Ashlyn Briegge 23, Marisha Wallace 19, Justice Payne 15, Vanessa Bledsoe 7, Sherri Lang 7, Chelsea Bates 3, Tory Dwyer 2.