The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


February 20, 2013

Local teams enter make-or-break weekend in basketball playoffs


ENID, Okla. — Plainsmen need first

top-20 win to survive

For 22 games, the Plainsmen have tried to hit the stride they thought they’d have all year.

Friday might be their last chance.

Enid (9-13) plays 6A No. 6 Broken Arrow 6:30 p.m. Friday in Bartlesville’s Region 2 bracket, and if the Plainsmen are to avoid elimination in the first round for the second straight season, they’ll have to beat a top-20 team for the first time in nine tries in 2012-13.

“We’ve talked about how, when we play well, and we put the pieces together, we can play with just about everybody we’ve played,” said Plainsmen coach Ryan Wilkinson. “We’ve just been really inconsistent.”

Meanwhile, Broken Arrow (15-6) has lost only once to a team outside the top 20 in the coaches’ poll, a 60-51 upset loss to Sapulpa, 6A’s No. 31 at the time.

“They’re big,” Wilkinson said. “They don’t have one true big guy — like a 6-foot-8 guy or something — but they’re big all the way around … they’re all around 6-2, 6-3, and they’ve got a lot of big, football-type guys. They’re aggressive, they shoot a lot of threes and get a lot of offensive boards and putbacks on those.”

Several Plainsmen have taken turns as the team’s leading scorers this season as Enid’s search for a regular go-to player has continued, with Jemarcus Jackson, Correll Baker, Deon Parker, Darnae Banks and Michael Majors each posting games of 18 points or better on the year.

However, one who hasn’t hit that mark has developed into the most consistent Plainsman.

Junior Aaron Austin hasn’t hit 18 in 2012-13, but has tallied 15 or better five times and has posted double figures a team-high 12 times, twice as often as any other Enid player.

“It wasn’t surprising,” Wilkinson said. “He gets a lot of his points on offensive rebounds and steals — hustle points.”

“I’m getting more time, and learning more each and every day,” said Austin, who averages a career-best 10.75 points per game, despite not being the team’s first offensive option.

Austin has another year with the Plainsmen, but Friday’s game might be the final game for the team’s seven seniors.

“We just try to go hard in practice every single day and fix our mistakes,” Austin said. “I’ve thought about, but I’m trying not to think about it. Our last game could be Friday, so I want to have more time with my boys on the team and play like a family.”

“Every year, someone gets beat that shouldn’t have on paper,” Wilkinson said. “Why shouldn’t that be us?”

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