By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News and Eagle
LAWTON, Okla. —
Enid doesn’t like Ike.
The Enid Pacers overcame a 12-point second-half deficit, but were unable to hold on to a fourth quarter lead, falling 55-50 at Lawton Eisenhower despite a game-high 23 points from Courtney Chelf, who fouled out of the game.
Eisenhower completed its sweep of Enid’s cagers by handing the Plainsmen their worst loss of the season, defeating the Big Blue 58-23 in the second game of the girls-boys doubleheader.
For the seventh-ranked Pacers, the loss snapped a four-game winning streak as they fell to 17-4. The win raised No. 17 Eisenhower’s record to 14-8 and evened the two-game season series between the two teams.
“It was a tough loss,” said Enid head coach Robb Mills. “We battled hard to come back, but we got in foul trouble late and that made it difficult.”
After a sluggish first half that saw Enid only score 16 points to trail 24-16 at halftime, the Pacers finally found their scoring touch after falling behind 28-16 early in the third quarter.
The Pacers rallied by going on a 14-0 run that saw them grab a 30-28 lead. They extended their lead to 35-30 by the end of the third quarter, their largest lead of the game. Chelf scored 12 of Enid’s 19 third-quarter points.
However, the homestanding Lady Eagles battled back in the fourth quarter by taking advantage of their size, controlling the offensive glass and taking the lead back for good at 40-39 with just over five minutes remaining, as the Pacers lost their leading scorer as Chelf fouled out.
“They (Eisenhower) are so very strong and have a big six-footer (Crystal Polk) and another that’s five-foot-10 (Nikki Smith) and they present a really tough matchup,” Mills said. “We knew it was going to be physical and we were prepared for that.”
With Chelf on the bench, the Lady Eagles eventually pulled away down the stretch for the 55-50 victory.
By the time the final horn sounded, the Pacers had three starters on the bench, having fouled out. Joining Chelf on the bench were Abby Lee (7 points) and Andi Pierce (7 points). Grace Enmeier was the only other Pacer in double-digits, with 10 points.
The Lady Eagles were led in scoring by junior forward Smith’s 20 points. Polk had 10 points.
Enid hurt its own cause at the foul line, converting only 15 of 30 chances, while Eisenhower shot 26 of 36. Enid committed 14 turnovers on the night. Eisenhower had 17.
“The beat us on the free throw line, give them credit for that,” Mills said. I thought the calls tonight were a bit inconsistent, but we aren’t going to use that as an excuse.”
Mills said the team can learn from Saturday’s loss.
“We talked after the game and just said ‘remember this feeling. Let this feeling motivate us for the season and into Thursday and remember this feeling, because it will feel 10 times worse on Thursday.”’
Enid opens regional playoff play Thursday at Tulsa Washington against Mustang.
“I’m still very happy with this team,” Mills said. “We’ve just got to keep working and earn it.”
The Pacers travel to El Reno Monday for their regular-season finale.
Lawton IKE 58, Enid 23 (B)
Lawton Eisenhower came out smoking in the boys game, hitting six first quarter three-pointers, and never looked back in a contest that never was close.
The Plainsmen fell behind 10-0 to start the game and were down 24-3 by the end of the first quarter. Things did not get any better in the second quarter as the Eagles continued with the hot shooting hand, while Enid could not get its offense going, falling behind 40-8 by halftime.The Plainsmen committed 14 of its 20 turnovers in the first quarter.
Eisenhower coasted in the second half to the easy win, nearly emptying its bench as 12 players scored for the Eagles.
Enid was led in scoring by Keon Parker and Raeshaan Finley with six points apiece.
Eisenhower was paced by Dominique Pierre with 11 points, including three treys in the first quarter. The Eagles hit 11 three-pointers in the contest.
The loss was Enid’s second in its last three games as the Plainsmen fell to 8-13. No. 8 Eisenhower improved its record to 16-6. The Eagles swept the two-game season series from Enid, having earlier defeated Enid 72-66 on Dec. 14 at the Mabee Center.
The 23 points scored were a season-low for the Plainsmen, who wrap up the regular season Monday at El Reno before opening the 6A regional playoffs Friday against No. 6 Broken Arrow at Bartlesville.