By Mike Kays, CNHI News Service
Enid News and Eagle
MUSKOGEE, Okla. —
Enid battled back from a six-point fourth quarter deficit with a torrid 23-point effort in the final stanza, but came up heartbreakingly short in a 68-66 loss to host Muskogee in the championship of the Bedouin Shrine Classic Saturday night.
The Pacers were led in scoring by Courtney Chelf’s game-high 27 points, but were unable to erase a two-point deficit in the closing seconds with a chance to potentially win it at the foul line.
Fouled on a drive at the top of the circle by Muskogee’s Kelsey McClure with 2.7 seconds left, Chelf went to the line and officials, after a brief conversation, called the foul a 3-pointer.
The first two shots bounced off the rim, which forced her to miss the third one. Grace Enmeier grabbed the rebound and missed a short banker as Muskogee walked away with a 68-66 victory and its fourth consecutive Shrine title.
“That was a heartbreaker,” said Pacers head coach Robb Mills. “I believe in her (Chelf), I believe in our girls. They played their hearts out, so did Muskogee. Tough game.”
Chelf and Enmeier were left with the consolation of making the all-tournament team. Enmeier had 8 points in the game. Haven Bay added 12, Andi Pierce had 10 points and Abby Lee had 9 points.
The Pacers, who saw their seven-game win streak end, were 10-of-19 from the line in the fourth, in which they came in on the back end of a 13-0 Muskogee run to make it a 49-43 Lady Roughers advantage.
Chelf’s three-point play with 2:54 to play brought Enid back from a 56-46 hole, after Muskogee had extended its run to 20-2, with 6:12 to play. Enmeier hit one of two free throws to make it 66-65 with 56.5 left.
“She (Chelf) played incredible in the fourth quarter,” said Mills. “Everybody did really.”
Alexus Wilson’s steal and missed layup was backed up by her sister, Aaliyah Wilson on a putback to make it 67-66 with 20.2 left. McClure then sank a free throw after her subsequent steal.
The Pacers found themselves down 7-0 to start the game, but Mills said the team never quit.
“We battled, battled and battled some more,” said Mills. “This was a well-fought game. I could not be more proud of our girls. This tells us where we’re at we just need to keep building.”
McClure led Muskogee (8-2) with 18 points, Alexus Wilson had 16 and Aaliyah Wilson 11.
Andi Pierce had 10 for Enid (9-2), ranked just behind No. 8 Muskogee in the Okrankings.com Class 6A coaches poll.
Kays is sports editor at the Muskogee Phoenix. Enid News & Eagle sports editor Dave Ruthenberg also contributed to this report.�