The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 28, 2014

Union eliminates Plainsmen

Enid News and Eagle

TULSA — The Enid Plainsmen weathered a first-quarter outburst by third-ranked host Union in the postseason’s regional opener, but couldn’t keep up with the Redskins, who ended the Plainsmen’s season with an 80-49 win on Friday.

Union seemed ready to pull away early, sprinting out to a 20-5 lead after a Marcus Moore three gave Enid a 3-1 advantage, the only time it had the lead.

“We started the game and I don’t know if we were just a little nervous, a little tight,” said Enid head coach Ryan Wilkinson. “We turned it over four times in a row and they dunked it four times.”

Union’s lead jumped to 25-8 to start the second, but Enid answered with is strongest stretch of the evening. Devon Edwards and Raeshaan Finley each scored five points during a 14-5 Enid run, a Finley three pulling the Plainsmen to within 30-22 late in the half. Union scored the next five points, but a Randy Porter putback put the score at 35-22 at half. Enid pulled within eight again in the third at 35-27, but a 15-6 Union spurt, and a 27-point third quarter, put the Redskins comfortably ahead for good.

“When it gets to be eight points, and you know you’re not supposed to be in that situation, maybe you get tight a little bit,” Wilkinson said. “When you make bad decisions against them, they score immediately ... They had more dunks in this game than maybe I’ve seen in a game since I’ve been here. It was fast and efficient.”

The loss put an end to a Plainsmen season that started promising enough — Enid looked the part of an improved team halfway into its 2013-14 season, outclassing 4A Elk City through two quarters of its opener before falling — but it quickly turned into a challenging year. Enid lost its first and last 10 games, finishing 2-22.

The Plainsmen will have to rebuild without seniors Marcus Moore, Michael Majors, Randy Porter, Malik Moses and Finley. Moore, Majors, Porter and Finley were at least part-time starters, and all five were rotation players.

“We kept guys around that are high-character guys,” Wilkinson said. “The guys underneath them recognize now that’s what you have to bring to this basketball program.

“Even in the face of adversity, and a lot of losses and some ominous moments, they continued to work hard and went into every game thinking they had a chance to win it. Hopefully those traits were passed along to the younger guys in the program.”

Finley led Enid with 14 points Friday night, and Porter had nine.

Shawn Olden paced Union (22-2) with 24 points. The Redskins host Muskogee tonight at 7 p.m.