By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
NOC Enid’s men and women were like the boxer who couldn’t get the knockout, but still scored a unanimous decision in sweeping an Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader from Seminole Thursday at the Mabee Center.
The Jets (10-3 overall and 2-1 in conference) got a career-high 30 points from Connor Brooks in a 77-69 decision in a game which they led from start to finish.
The Lady Jets (9-5, 2-1) scored only eight points in the final 12 minutes, but still came away with a 64-59 victory with three players in double figures — Rylie Swanson (13) and Chelsea Bates and Marisha Wallace (12).
Brooks’ biggest play came when he stole a pass with the Jets clinging to a 61-58 lead and dunked it to spark a 6-0 NOC Enid run.
“You get on the passing lanes like that and it helps in transition offense,’’ Brooks said. “That was a big momentum swing.’’
“Connor’s steal was a big play,’’ said NOC Enid coach Greg Shamburg. “He was really good tonight.’’
The Jets needed every one of Brooks’ 30 on a night when most of his teammates had difficulty finding the range. Jeremy Espinoza was only 3 of 8 from the field, while Dalen Qualls was 3 of 11. Qualls and Rex Farmer both had 10 points.
“If we had made a couple of shots, we could have put the game away earlier,’’ Shamburg said. “It was nice to have somebody who could make a shot.’’
“I was just taking what the defense was giving me,’’ Brooks said.
The Jets led by as many as 12 in the first half, but Seminole kept close with some hot shooting from Kilven Samuel, who had 33 points, including six 3s.
Seminole came within three points of the Jets seven times in the second half, but NOC Enid always had an answer when it needed it.
“I don’t think we played great, and I don’t think we played badly,’’ Shamburg said. “They played well and competed. We couldn’t stick in the dagger in them. I thought we played well enough to win, and that’s what we did.
“I never felt we were in danger of losing the game. We just couldn’t get over the hump ... we’ll take it.’’
NOC ENID 64, SEMINOLE 59 (W)
The Lady Jets had a 56-37 lead after a field goal by Swanson with 12:38 remaining.
NOC Enid would score only two field goals — a trey by Swanson with 9:57 left and a a basket by Shannon Hough with 6:46 remaining — over the next 11 minutes.
The Belles cut the lead to 61-56, only to see Bates make an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:10 remaining to put NOC Enid up by eight.
“There were a lot of momentum shifts in that game,’’ said Lady Jets coach Scott Morris. “There always are in basketball, but that one was especially drastic. I’m glad to see we were able to keep our composure the last two minutes.’’
Morris called Bates’ 3-point play “the dagger.’’
“That gave us just enough breathing room to change how we played defense,’’ Morris said. “That was big for us.’’
Morris said the Lady Jets played well on defense. Seminole had eight three-pointers to keep things interesting.
“To beat a team that was shooting the 3s that well, we’ll take it,’’ Morris said. “A win is a win, especially a conference win. It was ugly, but we’ll take it.’’
Morris was frustrated about the offense in the second half. Wallace was in foul trouble much of the time after intermission.
“The last 10 minutes we were just struggling to get shots,’’ he said, “and getting the shooters to where they were comfortable getting shots. We seemed to be always out of position. We had the wrong person with the ball in their hands, throwing it to the wrong person at the wrong spot. We couldn’t get any balance or continuity on offense. That’s something we have to remedy.’’
The Lady Jets trailed only twice (6-4 and 8-6). NOC Enid used an early 20-5 spurt to go up 26-13 after two Swanson free throws with 7:04 left in the half.
Both NOC Enid teams visit Cowley County Saturday.