The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

February 21, 2014

Pacers win 10th straight, Plainsmen fall

LAWTON, Okla. —  The Pacers’ win at 10th-ranked Lawton Eisenhower was one for the record books.

Haven Bay scored a game-high 14 points and sophomore Andi Pierce followed an uneventful start with a game-clinching rebound and putback to seal a 45-41 win, setting a Pacers record with their10th-consecutive victory Friday.

Pierce finished with eight points and turned what could have been a crucial mistake into a clutch basket with just under seven seconds left. Pierce — a near 90-percent free-throw shooter — had two free throws that would have put the Pacers up 44-41, if she’d hit both, but Enid’s leading scorer missed the second.

Eisenhower’s Crystal Polk snagged the rebound, but with the Lady Eagle center’s teammates streaking down the floor already, Pierce stole the ball before Polk could make an outlet pass, scoring through a Polk foul to push Enid’s lead to a decisive four points with 6.8 seconds left.

“She doesn’t miss a lot of free throws,” said Enid head coach Robb Mills. “They had to get back to the other end … there was just her and one other girl. Just a heads-up play. That sealed the game.”

Pierce’s play was the last in a series that kept Enid ahead in the closing minutes after leading comfortably through much of the first half.

The No. 15 Pacers (18-5) started fast, especially Bay, who hit two threes to open the game as Enid jumped out to a 9-2 lead. They led by as much as 14 and held a 23-12 advantage at halftime, but didn’t score until almost six minutes into the third quarter as Eisenhower took its first lead, 24-23, on a three by Kennedi Simien.

Enid quickly regained the lead, and after Eisenhower (16-4) rallied again in the fourth to tie the game at 34, Kylie Vestal completed a three-point play to give the Pacers a 37-34 lead and Bay hit a pull-up jumper and three foul shots to hold off one more Ike charge.

“We were shooting the ball so well, but I knew from experience you don’t always shoot that well the rest of the game,” Mills said.

“We called timeout just to settle us down. We knew they would be swinging back in the third quarter.”

Enid will take its program-best run into an elimination game in the Pacers’ Feb. 27 playoff opener against No. 14 Edmond Memorial at Broken Arrow.

“We had a little talk, me and some of the seniors and team leaders, that we wanted to surge into the playoffs,” Mills said. “They bought into it. I give (all the credit) to them.”

Eighth-ranked Ike routs Plainsmen

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