The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 17, 2014

Pacers on a record pace

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — By Bruce Campbell

Staff Writer

Enid’s girls can tie a school record for consecutive wins tonight when they host Bishop McGuinness in the front half of a 6:30 p.m. girls-boys doubleheader.

The Pacers (16-5), who have won eight straight, will be seeking to tie the record of the 1976-77 and 1978-79 teams who ran off nine-game winning streaks.

“That would be awesome,’’ said Enid head coach Robb Mills. “It would be a credit to the girls and all the hard work they have put in.’’

That won’t be the only motivation for the Pacers, who lost to the Irish (6-13) 52-48 at McGuinness on Jan. 3. The Irish came back from a 12-point deficit to win the game in overtime.

“It’s (revenge) always a factor in sports,’’ Mills said. “Anytime you lose to someone you felt you should have beat, you want another shot at it.’’

McGuinness has lost five of its last seven games, but beat Ardmore 37-30 on Friday. The Irish were able to hurt Enid with their three-point shooting in the first meeting.

Junior guard Gabby Grubb had 12 points in that game for McGuinness. Haven Bay had a season-high 22 points for the Pacers.

“They shoot a lot of threes, so we will need to block out because there will be a lot of long rebounds,’’ Mills said.

The Pacers are 0-5 against McGuinness during the current seniors careers. Seniors Abby Lee, Shelley Mueller, Grace Enmeier and Myranda Wilkerson will be playing for the final time at the Enid Event Center.

“All those things run through your mind,’’ Mills said. “I don’t know if they think about it much, but I’m sure they want to have a good showing for the last home game.

“People say games like this don’t matter because the playoffs already have been set, but they do matter. We want to keep our momentum for the playoffs.’’

Andi Pierce leads the Pacers’ offense, averging 15 points per game, followed by Bay (11), Lee (7.5), Enmeier (7.5) and Savannah Blasi (4.8). Kylee Vestal matched her season high with 10 points off the bench in a 63-54 win over Lawton on Friday.

“The strength of our team has been that we don’t know who will be in the scoring column,’’ Mills said. “They find the open person and share the basketball.’’

Meanwhile, the Plainsmen (2-19) face a difficult challenge against the Irish (17-4), who have won 10 of their last 11 games.

McGuinness beat Enid 46-29 on Jan. 3 behind 12 points from Stephen Amalong, all on 3-point shots. The 29 points was Enid’s lowest scoring output of the season.

“It’s going to be a grinder for us,’’ said Enid coach Ryan Wilkinson. “They like to slow it down and play methodical. A lot of their games are low scoring. We have to get points in transition when we can.’’

McGuinness likes to spread out opponents to open up dribble drive penetration.

“Once we got down the last time, it was difficult to come back because of the long possessions,’’ Wilkinson said.

Irish junior 6-foot-8 center Will Lienhard can be a defensive intimidator inside. The Irish zone has been effective so far.

“We’re going to have to hit some shots to open it up,’’ Wilkinson said

Enid is hoping to break a  six-game losing streak. Four of those losses were by six points or less, including a 48-42 decision to Lawton Friday.

“We have been playing better,’’ Wilkinson said. “We just haven’t been able to seal the deal yet, but it only takes one time to get a win out of it.’’

It will be the final home game for seniors Malik Moses, Randy Porter, Raeshaan Finley, Marcus Moore and Michael Majors.

Braden Rogers leads the offense with 11 points per game, followed by Majors (6.4), Finley (6.4), Moore (5.6), Porter (4.9) and Devon Edwards (4.2).

“We can be a dangerous team if we show up and everything clicks on a given night,’’ Wilkinson said. “We’re going to continue to keep working hard and execute what we can do. All we can do is play hard. We can live with the results after that.’’

Both games can be heard on KGWA Radio (960 AM).