The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

February 24, 2014

NEO sweeps Jets

MIAMI, Okla. — Ja’mill Powell scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half as Northeastern A&M (18-10, 10-7) dealt Northern Oklahoma College Enid’s chances for a regular season Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference championship a blow, 91-80 Monday.

The No. 10-ranked Lady Norse (26-2, 17-0) won the women’s game 78-67 behind 27 points from McKenzie Solberg off the bench. The Lady Jets (16-11, 9-8) got 25 points from Rylie Swanson.

The Jets, with the loss, dropped to 11-6 in conference and 20-7 overall. They entered the game tied with Connors for the league lead. If NOC Enid beats Western Thursday, the Jets would finish no lower than third. Redlands was a half-game behind going into Monday.

“It looks like we’re playing for second and third Thursday, but that could change,’’ said Jets assistant coach Zac Howe. “It was a pretty tough game. We played well enough to win, but we didn’t close it out down the stretch.’’

The Norsemen ended the game on a 6-0 run over the last 1:07. Powell, a 70 percent foul shooter, hit 12 of 12 free throws on the night. The Norsemen were 32 of 40 from the line, while the Jets attempted only 13 foul shots.

“At this time of year, you get contributions from places you haven’t been getting from previously,’’ Howe said. “They had some guys play way above themselves. We didn’t match their effort.’’

Ben Berry kept the Jets in the game as he scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half. However, he fouled out with two minutes remaining with NOC Enid behind 81-76.

“Ben allowed us to keep pace,’’ Howe said. “He had some foul troublem which ended up costing him and us down the stretch. There were some questionable calls that didn’t go our way.’’

Igor Ibaka, the brother of Oklahoma City Thunder star Serge, gave the Norsemen the lead for good, 58-55 on an old-fashioned three-point play. Ibaka had 21 points.

The Jets were able to keep it a one-posession game until Powell hit a long three and then hit two free throws after being fouled off a steal to make it 81-74.

The Jets couldn’t get any closer than five points after that.

The first half resembled a roller coaster. The Jets led by as many as seven (24-17), only to see the Norsemen use a 15-2 run to go ahead 30-26 and take a 37-35 lead at halftime.

Ja’Wan Smith had 18 and Corey Alpough 12 for the Jets.

NEO 78, LADY JETS 67

The underdog Lady Jets gave league champion NEO all it wanted before the Lady Norse took over in the final few minutes for their 16th straight win.

NOC Enid, down 36-28 at halftime, opened the second half with a 13-4 run to take a 41-40 advantage after a three-pointer by Kori Barrios.

The Lady Jets followed with a 10-0 run to go up 51-43 after a basket by Swanson, only to see the Lady Norse answered with a 12-2 run to go up 55-53 after a trey by Solberg.

Breck Clark, who had 14 points, tied the game for the last time at 55-55 with approximately six minutes remaining. The Lady Norse, though, went on a 14-4 blitz to go up 69-59. The closest NOC Enid could get after that was six.

“I thought we played hard, I was proud of our effort,’’ said Lady Jets head coach Scott Morris. “They are really balanced and strong at every position and they play good defense. The margin of error you can have against a team like that is very small. We had a couple of droughts and a couple of defensive lapses, and that’s all that it takes against a team like that. They will take advantage of you.’’

The Lady Jets opened the game with a 7-2 run. Solberg, though, scored 13 points in a 15-2 run to put her team up 17-9.

Aska McCaskill, also coming off the bench, had 17 points for the Lady Norse.

The NOC Enid cagers will be back in action Thursday when they host Western Oklahoma in a 6 p.m. doubleheader in the regular season finale.

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