The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

February 25, 2013

OCAC lead on the line for Jets

ENID, Okla. — When NOC Enid coach Scott Morris said “anything can happen’’ in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference race last week, he wasn’t kidding.

Conference officials have told Morris that league leader Eastern will have to forfeit its 13 conference wins up to last week.

That puts an extra emphasis on tonight’s Murray State at NOC Enid game.

Instead of the game being for second place, the winner will be assured of at least a tie for the conference championship. Both teams take 13-3 league records into the 6 p.m. contest at the Mabee Center.

The fate of the games, which were originally scheduled for Monday, will be decided this morning in a meeting of the schools’ athletic directors.

“The winner of this game has a huge, huge advantage,’’ said Morris, whose team still has a game left at Carl Albert on Thursday.

The Lady Jets won at Murray State 54-42 on Jan. 21 behind Christa Beasler’s 23 points.

The Lady Jets, who were down to six players in an 86-80 overtime win over Connors Saturday, could have center Shannon Hough back.

Hough missed the Connors game with a viral infection.

“It’s a possibility,’’ Morris said. “We just have to see how it goes.’’

Marisha Wallace has been diagnosed with mono. The diagnosis was made at the tail end of the illness, Morris said. It is not known how long she will be out.

Paige Eaton, who is suffering from compartment syndrome, will suit up but would only play in an emergency, Morris said.

“We’re just trying to get healthy,’’ Morris said. “I’m proud of how the girls have responded. Any time you have a chance of playing for a conference championship, it’s exciting. That’s why girls come here, for the opportunity to play for a championship. I’m glad they are getting it.’’

Morris said the key for the Lady Jets will be “playing our game.’’

“We can’t get caught up in everything and let Murray State get us out of our game plan,’’ he said. “We just have to stay poised and stay focused.’’

The NOC Enid men (9-7) will be trying to avenge a 74-66 loss to the Aggies on Jan. 21. Jeremy Espinoza had 20 points for NOC Enid that night, followed by Dalen Qualls with 16 and Connor Brooks with 13.

The Jets are tied with NEO for fourth in the league at 9-7. Western is a game back at 8-8. NOC Enid has the tiebreaker over WOC with two wins over the Pioneers.

NOC Enid goes to last place Carl Albert Thursday.

Murray State is tied for second in the league with Connors at 11-5.

“If we can win, we should finish in the top five,’’ said NOC Enid coach Greg Shamburg. “You want to stay in the top five so you don’t have to play the play-in game.’’

Rebounding will be the key to the rematch.

“We didn’t rebound well the first time,’’ Shamburg said. “We played well enough to win, but we gave up too many offensive rebounds.’’

The sophomores for both teams will be recognized tonight with their parents.

They include Qualls, Brooks, Espinoza, Philip Brown, Tanner Reddick and Rex Farmer for the Jets and Regan Crowl, Bates, Tory Dwyer, Sherri Lang, Beasler, Mckinsey Schumpert and Wallace for the Lady Jets.

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