By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
MIDWEST CITY — —
Enid pulled to within 17-11 in the first quarter of the Plainsmen’s opener at the Midwest City-Del City Holiday Invitational on Thursday, but never came closer to top-ranked Midwest City.
The Bombers returned fire, rattling off 18 straight points against the turnover-prone Plainsmen, who finished with as many giveaways — 20 — as points in the first half, making way for an 89-52 loss, Enid’s fourth straight.
“We talked about (turnovers) being one of the keys to the game,” said coach Ryan Wilkinson. “You turn the ball over and it’s easy baskets for them. We just couldn’t handle the pressure ... They’re really fast. Not only do they get turnovers, but when they get one, they score it quick.”
A basket by Raeshaan Finley halted the run, but Midwest City answered with another 9-0 burst behind constant defensive pressure and transition opportunities to put the Bombers up 44-13.
“They run and jump the whole game,” Wilkinson said. “That’s how they’ve played as long as I remember. That’s just what they do.”
Enid (2-6) finished with 31 turnovers against the 4-0 Bombers, who don’t play a starter above 6-foot-1, but have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 30.5 points.
The Bombers’ 89 points were the most they’ve scored this season, and the most the Plainsmen have given up — 17 more than the previous high set in a 72-66 loss to Lawton-Eisenhower Dec. 14 in Enid.
“They move the ball around, and we’d break down,” Wilkinson said. “The defensive rotations weren’t there. We didn’t take a charge all night.”
Cornell Neal led Midwest City with 16 points, pushing the Bombers to a Friday tilt with the Oklahoma City Storm.
Deon Parker scored a team-high 10, and Aaron Austin and Correll Baker each added eight for the Plainsmen, who play No. 16 Bixby at 3:30 p.m. Friday, a game scheduled to be broadcast at kgwanews.com. Whether the Plainsmen can end their slide likely won’t be determined by Bixby, Wilkinson said.
“It’s not our opponent, it’s ourselves,” he said. “We’ve got to find our identity, and we’re struggling with that right now.”