Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Ben Berry wasn’t going to go out a loser on Northern Oklahoma College Enid’s Sophomore Night.
Berry hit four key free throws in the last 1:47 and had a key rebound as the Jets posted a 67-63 win over Western Thursday.
Rylie Swanson, playing her last game as a Lady Jet, had 19 points as NOC Enid also won the women’s game 68-49.
The men (21-7, 12-6) assured themselves at least a No. 3 seed for next week’s regionals. The women (17-11, 10-8) will be the No. 4 or No. 5 seed.
The two men’s teams had 27 turnovers in the second half — the Jets 14 and the Pioneers 13. Western didn’t help its cause by hitting only one of 10 free throws in the second half.
“It was an ugly win, but it’s still a win,’’ Berry said. “I don’t feel like either team could get in rhythm. There were a lot of foul calls and a lot of dead ball calls from the refs. I’m not saying they weren’t doing their jobs, but sometimes I wish they would let us play more.’’
Berry was fouled while rebounding a missed free throw by Dii’Jon Allen-Jordan with 13.2 seconds left. Allen-Jordan was trying to complete a three-point play, which would have cut the Jet lead to 65-64.
Berry completed a 14-point night by hitting both free throws. Najee Senior missed a three-pointer in the final seconds.
“I actually told both guys at the line to block the shooter out because my guy wasn’t going to get past me,’’ Berry said. “When I was at the line, I just kept telling myself that I was going to make it.’’
The Jets, down 36-35 at halftime, opened the second half on a 13-2 run to take a 48-38 lead after a dunk by Corey Alpough with 15:43 left.
The Pioneers got to within two points three times in the last 2:13, but the Jets always had an answer.
“I hate to lose, and we have some guys who hate to lose,’’ Berry said. “We had some fight in us.’’
The Jets were only 12 of 25 from the line in the first half, Western never trailed.
“We got chewed out in the locker room,’’ Berry said about the second half spurt. “We had some anger flying around and we took it out on them.’’
Ja’Wan Smith led the Jets with 18 points, followed by Berry with14 and Alpough with 10. Smith kept the Jets in the game early with 13 first-half points. He was five-of-six from the field.
LADY JETS 68, WESTERN 49
The Lady Jets scored the game’s first six points and never trailed as the Lady Pioneers finished conference play winless (0-18).
The Lady Pioneers were able to hang close early, thanks in part to 16 offensive rebounds. The Lady Jets used a 13-4 run to go up 44-30 after two Breck Clark free throws with 14 minutes remaining.
Clark (16) and Tierra Coffey (10) joined Swanson in double figures.
“We were a little sluggish and a little too excited,’’ said Lady Jets head coach Scott Morris. “As soon as we settled into a lead, we got a little too comfortable, but it was exciting to win on Sophomore Night and get to play everybody.’’
Swanson was 7-of-11 from the field and four-of-four from the line. Fellow sophomore Kori Fast was three-of-three from the field in a six-point effort.
“Rylie has done a great job of taking the bar and raising it,’’ Morris said. “Kori has battled a lot of injuries. It was good to see her finish strong. I’m proud of her.’’
The Lady Jets were a solid 18 of 22 from the foul line.
The women begin play in the regional tournament at Shawnee on Wednesday. The men begin play Thursday. Pairings will be released Sunday.