The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

February 1, 2013

NOC Enid falls twice at NEO

MIAMI, Okla. — On a cold night in far northeastern Oklahoma, the Northern  Oklahoma College Enid basketball teams ran into a hot Northeastern A&M Thursday night in Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference action.

The host Norsemen had six players in double figures in beating the Jets 85-76. Eliana Fernandez had a career-high 29 points as NEO won the women’s game 73-58.

The losses dropped the Jets to 16-7 overall and 6-5 in the OCAC, while the Lady Jets dropped to 16-7 and 8-3.

Dalen Qualls had a season-high 28 points, including eight 3-pointers, but the Jets couldn’t overcome the Norsemen’s balance in giving up a season-high 85 points.

Frederico Santos had 20 points and 18 rebounds for NEO, which raised its record to 14-9 overall and 7-4 in conference. He was followed by Ja’mill Powell with 16, Derrick Frye with 15, Jeff Newberry with 12 and Jake Roach with 11.

The Norsemen hurt the Jets on the offensive boards (14).

“They made the key plays,’’ said Jets assistant coach Ryan Mahoney. “A couple of those plays came on offensive rebounds. It comes down to us blocking out and finishing a possession. We have to start valuing every possession and make every possession matter.’’

The first half was back-and-forth until the final minutes. Rex Farmer gave the Jets their final lead, 34-33. The Norsemen used a 10-2 run to close out the half to lead 43-36.

The Norsemen led by as many as 12 points in the second half as NEO seemed to always have an answer when the Jets made a run.

“I don’t think we played badly at all,’’ Mahoney said. “There were some things that happened at the end of the first half that we couldn’t overcome in the second half. The way we finished we got behind the eight-ball and we couldn’t get out from behind it.’’

Qualls’ last trey cut the lead to 79-76 with just over a minute left to play. NEO scored the game’s final six points for the nine-point victory margin.

“We executed our game plan that we wanted to play,’’ Mahoney said, “but we didn’t make shots. We missed a couple of layups in the first half and some mid-range 10 to 12 foot jumpers in the second half that if we made those shots, it could have been a different game. But we didn’t.’’

Qualls had 11 points in the first half and 17 in the second. Jeremy Espinoza had 17 points before fouling out with four minutes remaining.

“Dalen played well,’’ Mahoney said. “He was making shots. We need more contributions from our bench. They don’t necessarily need to score more, but they need to give us quality minutes so our starters can catch their breath and go back out again and be able to give 100 percent.’’

The Jets will try to bounce back at Seminole Monday.

“We just have to get healthy,’’ Mahoney said. “We’re kind of banged up right now. We need to get healthy for the stretch run so we’re playing our best ball in March.’’

NEO 73, NOC ENID 58 (W)

The Lady Jets couldn’t overcome a cold last four minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half.

NOC Enid had a 22-21 lead after a basket by Rani Melvin with 4:33 left in the half, but the Norsewomen outscored the Lady Jets 8-1 to take a 29-23 halftime lead.

NEO had a 9-2 run to open the second half and never looked back.

Fernandez, who was averaging seven points a game, had 17 in the first half and 12 in the second to become the second straight player to score 30 or more points against NOC Enid.

“She tore us up,’’ said NOC Enid assistant coach Josiah White.’’

NOC Enid head coach Scott Morris, in a radio interview, said the two big games were the result of a lack of defensive intensity.

“We thought we had those issues addressed,’’ Morris said during the interview. “We didn’t get the job done.’’

Marisha Wallace, NOC Enid’s leading scorer, did not score. She was in foul trouble most of the night, and was 0-of-4 from the foul line.

The Lady Jets had three players in double figures — Chelsea Bates with 16, Rylie Swanson with 13 and Christa Beasler with 10.

“We were out of rhythm on offense,’’ White said.

Morris, in the radio interview, said not having Wallace, an Oklahoma State signee on the court, “changes our personality on the floor.’’

Three other NEO players were in double figures — Sofia Mendoza with 11, DeVaughn Gray with 10 and Kate Frazier with 10.

NEO raised its record to 15-6 overall and 8-3 in conference.

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