By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News and Eagle
EL RENO, Okla. —
Enid ended the regular season with a split on the road at El Reno with the Plainnsmen defeating the Indians 39-37, while the Pacers were upset by El Reno, 40-32.
The Plainsmen (8-13) rebounded from their worst game of the season, coming off a 35-point blowout loss Saturday at Lawton Eisenhower to record their fifth win in their last seven games behind a game-high 12 points from Jemarcus Jackson on senior night at El Reno.
“I told those guys (after the Eisenhower loss) to have a short memory,” said Plainsmen head coach Ryan Wilkinson. “We didn’t overthink that loss. We just didn’t show up and we’re not very good when we don’t show up.
“The guys were excited to get one back against El Reno, a team we felt stole one from us earlier in the season (the Plainsmen lost to El Reno on opening night at home 56-49) and since we lost our senior night due to the weather, we wanted to steal their senior night.”
Enid entered the fourth quarter up 30-25 and withstood an El Reno rally that saw the Indians tie the game at 35-35 midway through the quarter. However, Jackson sank four straight free throws down the stretch, and the Plainsmen held a 39-37 advantage that stood up when the Indians (11-10) missed a jumper at the buzzer.
“We played pretty composed,” Wilkinson said. “It was a physical game with a playoff atmosphere.”
The game was tightly contested with El Reno holding a 21-20 lead at halftime, but Enid outscored the Indians 10-4 in the third period, going up 30-25 for its biggest lead of the game.
The Plainsmen committed only 12 turnovers on the night and next head to Bartlesville on Friday to face Broken Arrow to open 6A regional playoff play.
“We know we have a large task ahead (against Broken Arrow),” Wilkinson said. “Every-body is going to have to hit on all cylinders. When we show up, we can play with a lot of people and I believe we will show up.”
El Reno 40, Enid 32 (G)
The seventh-ranked Enid Pacers dropped their second straight contest, losing their regular-season finale 40-32 to Class 5A El Reno.
The Pacers (17-5) started strong and appeared to have the game in hand early, opening up a 15-4 lead after the first period, but scored only 17 points over the rest of the game in getting upset by the Lady Indians (13-13).
“We came out really well like we wanted to, but couldn’t keep it going,” said Pacers head coach Robb Mills. “It was just a tough night for us.”
After their hot start, the Pacers were outscored 15-6 in the second quarter as they watched El Reno methodically cut into its lead and then grab its first lead of the game at 19-17 with less than two minutes remaining in the first half on the strength of a 13-2 run. The Lady Indians never trailed again in the contest and led 22-21 at halftime.
Both teams struggled coming out of halftime, scoring a combined seven points with El Reno holding a 5-2 edge.
“Our shots weren’t falling late,” Mills said. “I don’t know if we were tired from the Lawton trip (Enid was playing its third road game in four nights). We had a lot of turnovers.”
El Reno rediscovered its scoring touch in the final period, but the Pacers continued to struggle both from the field and at the foul line, where, for the second straight game, they shot only 50 percent from the charity stripe, going 8 of 16. The Pacers also were hurt by 20 turnovers.
The Pacers were led in scoring by Courtney Chelf with 13 points, 10 of which came in the first half. The 32 points tied a season-low for Enid.
The loss evened the two-game season series against El Reno. Enid defeated the Lady Indians 50-45 in the season-opener on Nov. 29.
“Overall it was a really frustrating night for all of us,” Mills said. “I told (the team) after the game this is going to be our last negative conversation we have. We are going to go in with a positive attitude when we play Mustang. You just have to put these behind you and let it motivate you.”
The Pacers face Mustang Thursday at Tulsa Washington in the opening round of the 6A regional playoffs.
EL RENO 40, ENID 32
ENID 15 6 2 9 — 32
EL RENO 4 18 5 13 — 40
Enid: Chelf 13, Pierce 8, Bay 6, Lee 3, Enmeier 2
El Reno: Gray 17, Davis 9, Owen 6, Thompson 4, Bellingmule 2
ENID 39, EL RENO 37
ENID 11 9 10 9 — 39
EL RENO 11 10 4 12 — 37
Enid: Jackson 12, Austin 8, K. Parker 6, Finley 5, D. Parker 4, Porter 2, Majors 2
El Reno: Elledge 9, Brown 8, Jones 7, Harris 5, Gill 3, Wells 2