STILLWATER, Okla. —
In a game so evenly matched, sometimes it’s the little things that can make the difference. The Stillwater High School girls basketball team learned that lesson the hard way against No. 10 Enid Tuesday at Pioneer Fieldhouse.
Leading by as much as 11 points in the first half, several turnovers – including three in the final minute – ultimately helped the Pacers stave off Stillwater’s upset bid with a 52-44 victory.
“Our defensive effort (was better),” said Enid coach Robb Mills. “I don’t want to take anything away from Stillwater, but we didn’t come out to play and they did. They just have to mentally go out there and do it for each other and play defense the way we talked about playing defense.”
It was a tale of two halves for both teams. Austyn Iven’s 3-pointer with 3:24 left in the first quarter helped Stillwater (8-5) end the first quarter with an 11-2 run.
Back-to-back 3-point possessions gave the Pacers (10-2) a little boost, but Stillwater got back on track with a pair of baskets from Jenny Scarbrough to take a 29-21 lead at halftime.
“It was a game of runs,” Stillwater coach Carl Treat said. “They started out 4-0 and we got a run there late in the first quarter. Basketball is a game of runs, and unfortunately, they had the last one late. We felt pretty confident going into halftime with a lead, but we just couldn't hold them off.”
Trailing by five, Andi Pierce sparked Enid’s offense with the Pacers’ lone 3-pointer of the game, coming with 2:40 left in the third quarter as the Pacers ended the quarter with an 8-0 run to take a 38-36 lead into the final quarter.
Stillwater had its chances late but it seemed like every time the Lady Pioneers had an opportunity to tie the game, the Pacers’ Abby Lee came up with several key offensive rebounds to keep Stillwater at bay. Lee finished with 10 points and 9 rebounds.
Along with the offensive rebounds, Enid knocked down its free throws, something that had been a big concern for Mills coming into the game.
“Last game, free-throw shooting was kind of what ended the game for us in the fourth quarter, because we missed nine in the fourth quarter,” Mills said. “For us to come back to shoot well in the fourth quarter gives us confidence.”
Haven Bay led Enid with 15 points and four rebounds. Pierce tallied 11 points and 5 rebounds for the Pacers, which face Ponca City Friday.
Pioneers 61, EHS 46
Even with several players battling flu-like symptoms – including junior Jared Dickey and senior Rico Thompson – Stillwater’s hot-shooting and fast-paced offense was more than Enid could handle as the Pioneers rolled over the Plainsmen 61-46.
Senior Carson Teel finished with 13 points to lead the Pioneers (10-3), but early on it was Enid (4-8) that dictated the pace by forcing Stillwater to play more of a half-court game instead of its typical run-and-shoot offense.
“We did (a good job) in spurts, but once they started pressing we had a tough time breaking that press,” said Enid coach Ryan Wilkinson. “There were a couple of times we broke it by dribbling, but when you face a team that is that fast and that active, you can’t do that.”
Leading 16-12 after the first quarter, Stillwater finally broke the game open in the second quarter. Using that pressure defense, Stillwater ended the half with a 13-4 run – sparked by Braydn Murrell’s steal and layup – to take a 34-21 lead at halftime.
The Pioneers continued to pour it on in the second half, At one point Caleb Watkins made three straight baskets, forcing the Plainsmen to burn a timeout and figure out a different defensive strategy.
“You have to give them credit, they shot well,” Wilkinson said. “We talked about it at the end of the quarter, but they just kept knocking down shots. There really isn’t a whole lot you can do when that happens.”
The Pioneers expanded their lead to 51-35 by the end of the third quarter/
Aaron Austin led Enid with 11 points. Correll Baker had 10 points and four rebounds.
Nick Snow is a sports reporter for the Stillwater NewsPress.
ENID 52, STILLWATER 44
ENID 8 13 17 14 – 52
STILLWATER 15 12 9 8 — 44
Enid — Bay 15, Pierce 11, Chelf 10, Lee 10, Enmeier 6.
Stillwater — Iven 18, Scarbrough 6, Stettnis 6, Fix 5, Atkins 4, Randolph 3, Worthy 2.
STILLWATER 61, ENID 46
ENID 12 9 14 11 – 46
STILLWATER 16 18 17 10 – 61
Enid: Baker 10, Maud 2, Jackson 8, Austin 11, Banks 3, Parker 6, Findley 2, Majors 2, Porter 2.
Stillwater: Teel 13, Budke 13, Watkins 8, Thompson 5, Brown 10, Green 6, Dickey 4, Murrell 2.