Enid News and Eagle
POTEAU, Okla. —
NOC Enid’s women took advantage of a little charity to beat Carl Albert 68-60 to clinch their eighth Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference championship in 12 years.
The Jets completed the sweep in the men’s game, 66-50 behind 15 points from Dalen Qualls and 13 from Jeremy Espinoza to raise their record to 11-7 in conference and 21-9 overall.
The Lady Jets (22-7 overall and 15-3 in conference) were 26 of 31 from the foul line, compared to six of seven for the Lady Vikings.
Chelsea Bates, who had 23 points for the Lady Jets, was 12 of 16 from the charity stripe and nailed three 3-point baskets in dissecting the Carl Albert defense.
“Chelsea has been an incredible leader for this team,’’ said Lady Jets coach Scott Morris. “She’s been doing it by example. A lot of coaches think you have to be vocal, but that girl does it with her actions every day. She’s had the most clutch performances over a stretch that I can remember.’’
Bates has averaged 17.9 points in leading the Lady Jets to seven straight wins, the last four without All-American Marisha Wallace, who has mono.
She is shooting 52 percent from the 3-point line and Morris said her ability to penetrate has opened up the lanes for her teammates.
“We have been trying to get her to score more and finish,’’ Morris said. “She is so unselfish ... but we told her she has to score for us now. She’s a tough person to guard.’’
The Lady Jets, Morris said, have been getting their timing down in their spread offense. NOC Enid has picked up confidence.
“It’s no coincidence that we have been to the line more,’’ Morris said. “People have to pick their poison. You get somebody to cheat on someone who’s hot, and it opens somebody else up.’’
Christa Beasler had 13 points, her ninth straight game in double figures. Rylie Swanson had 11, her fourth straight.
Carl Albert led by five twice in the early minutes, the last being 18-13 with 13 minutes left. The Lady Jets answered with an 11-3 run to go up 24-21 and never trailed again.
NOC Enid led 36-30 at halftime and broke the game open with a 10-0 run after the Lady Vikings cut the lead to 41-39.
“This is a tough place to play, especially going back-to-back (NOC Enid beat Murray State 73-53 Wednesday),’’ Morris said. “I’m really pleased with how we played.
“I’m excited that we were able to win the title outright. A lot of the girls based their decision to come here after looking at the championships that we have won. It’s a goal we set in the preseason, and it’s awfully rewarding to obtain that goal.’’
The Lady Jets will be the No. 1 seed for the regional tournament which begins Thursday in Shawnee. NOC Enid likely will be playing either Eastern, NOC Tonkawa or Western.
NOC ENID 66, CARL ALBERT 50 (M)
Qualls scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half to lead a Jets’ surge. NOC Enid led only 35-29 at halftime,but outscored the Vikings 31-21 in the second half.
Rex Farmer joined Espinoza and Qualls in double figures with 11 points. That matched the season high for the Edmond sophomore.
The Vikings led 16-9 in the early going, but NOC Enid answered with a 16-5 run to go up 25-21. They would not relinquish the lead.
The Jets led by as many as 22 points at one point in the second half.
NOC Enid begins play in the regional tournament on Wednesday. The pairings will be announced Saturday. The Jets are in line to play Northeastern A&M in the opening round.