Enid News & Eagle
The Lady Jets may still be hearing whistles.
Northern Oklahoma College Enid took a 15-point lead over Independence, Kan., into halftime Saturday during the second of a two-game schedule at the Montgomery County Classic, but a near-unheard of barrage of foul calls sent the Lady Jets deep into their bench, then to an 89-82 loss, their first.
All five Lady Jet starters fouled out as part of a 38-foul night for NOC, sending Independence to the free-throw line 54 times. Of those, 35 were converted, enough for Independence to outpace the Lady Jets 54-32 in the second half of the two-hour, 15-minute contest. Independence also was called tight, drawing 28 whistles on fouls.
“I’ve coached 21 years and I’ve only seen one other game that had that kind of officiating,” said NOC coach Scott Morris. “It was just unfortunate. It was called the same both ways really, but it was just unfortunate that the game was being taken away from the kids and put into the hands of officials.”
Breck Clark scored a team-high 16 points and Tierra Coffey added 14 for the Lady Jets (1-1), who will play their home opener Monday at the Mabee Center against Southwestern, Kan.
JETS 93, S. COLORADO 91
Issues with contact lenses didn’t stop Northern Oklahoma College Enid freshman Cornell Neal Saturday against the Southern Colorado Kings at the Seward Pepsi Classic.
Neal hit two pressure free throws with less than a minute remaining to give the Jets (2-0) a 93-91 victory over the Kings, a collection of former college players.
“Cornell had to (step) out a couple of times because of contact issues,’’ said NOC Enid assistant Drew Bridges. “After he got back in the final time, he said coach (Greg Shamburg) put me in, I’ll turn it up and that’s exactly what he did.’’
Neal was in double figures for the second straight night with a 14-point effort. Redshirt sophomore Ben Berry led the way with 23 points while freshman Jordan Evans had his second-straight 16-point performance.
“Ben was very aggressive today,’’ Bridges said. “He didn’t miss too often. Jordan might have been our most solid performer over the weekend (NOC Enid beat Northwest Kansas Tech Friday).’’
The Jets raced to a comfortable lead early, but had some problems defensively against the more-experienced Kings.
“We played well offensively, but we weren’t locked in defensively at all today,’’ Bridges said. “Thankfully, we were able to put it in the bucket one more time than them. We had to play our tails off the last five or six minutes.’’
Playing an older team was a valuable experience for the Jets, who returned only three players who saw action last season.
“We found out we need to focus for 40 minutes,’’ Bridges said. “We were playing against a group of older guys who knew how to play the game.
“I really think this will help us. We faced a little bit of adversity, but we were able to win. That’s never a bad thing to see as a coach. I have no complaints with the final result.’’
Antonio Dye led the Kings with 38 points.
The Jets will travel to Hillsdale Baptist Tuesday, before hosting Cowley (Kan.) College Thursday for their home opener.