By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
ENID, Okla. —
Cellar-dwellar Carl Albert proved to be just what the doctor ordered for the slumping Northern Oklahoma College Enid men Wednesday night at the Mabee Center.
Dalen Qualls, coming off the bench for the first time this season, scored a game-high 22 points as the Jets (15-6, 5-4) broke a two-game losing streak by routing the Vikings 81-47 in the second half of an Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader.
The No. 22 Lady Jets (8-1, 16-5) opened the evening with their 11th-straight win, 64-53 behind 19 points from Marisha Wallace and a season-high 14 points from Paige Eaton.
Qualls had four treys in a breakout night both for himself and his teammates.
“Coach gave me a different look,’’ Qualls said. “I feel comfortable no matter how they use me. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll do whatever it takes for the team to win.’’
Qualls had three treys in the first half in hitting five of his last six shots. Qualls and Connor Brooks both matched Carl Albert’s entire team with 13 first-half points.
“That was the Dalen Qualls that we recruited and the Dalen Qualls of last year,’’ said Jets assistant coach Ryan Mahoney. “Connor hit a couple of big shots. We just have to get our confidence back and feeling good about ourselves. If we do that, we’ll be fine.’’
The Jets led 39-13 at halftime as the Vikings were only five-of-25 from the field
“Coach stressed defensive intensity and playing hard all the time,’’ Qualls said. “That’s what we’re trying to do right now.’’
“If this doesn’t give us confidence, I don’t know what will,’’ Mahoney said. “We came out and played hard. When you hold somebody to less than a point a minute, that’s amazing. We defensively rebounded well all night and we didn’t give up very many offensive rebounds. We attacked the offensive glass. We were locked-in and more focused.’’
Brooks had 18 points, while Jeremy Espinoza added 17. Ten different Jets scored.
“Practice is a lot easier when we win,’’ Qualls said. “Life is good. We’ll do whatever it takes to get back on the right track.’’
NOC ENID 64, CARL ALBERT 53 (W)
Lady Jets coach Scott Morris didn’t sound like a coach whose team is atop the conference standings after the game. NOC Enid committed 21 turnovers, which kept the Lady Vikings in the game.
“We escaped, we were fortunate to win,’’ Morris said. “We just got complacent. We expect more out of this team. I don’t want to be overly critical, but this team has incredibly high expectations. We didn’t make any attempt of taking a step in the right direction tonight.’’
The Lady Jets were 15 of 17 from the foul line, which Morris said “might have been the difference between winning and losing.’’
NOC Enid saw a 45-27 lead with 14:05 remaining dip down to five, 57-52 after the Lady Vikings scored off back-to-back turnovers with 2:17 remaining.
Little-used McKinsey Schumpert, though, scored her only points of the game the next possession and the Lady Jets put the game away by hitting five of six free throws in the last 1:41.
“If you can find a bright spot in tonight’s game, that could be it,’’ said Morris of Schumpert. “She watched 36 minutes of basketball, but was ready to go when we called on her. I’m proud of her. She earned the opportunity to come in. She plays good defense and gets rebounds.’’
Rylie Swanson joined Wallace and Eaton in double figures with 11 points. D. Brown had 20 points for the Lady Vikings, including five three-pointers.
“We just had a lack of focus,’’ Morris said. “We were sloppy and we botched defensive assignments. That falls back on me. I didn’t do a good job of preparing this team to get ready to play.’’
The Lady Vikings fell to 3-6 in conference and 7-11 overall.
NOC Enid will host Redlands in a 6 p.m. doubleheader Monday night at the Mabee Center.
NOC ENID 64, CARL ALBERT 53
CA 19 34 — 53
NOC ENID 26 38 — 64
Carl Albert — Brown 20, Williams 8, K. Cooper 7, Edwards 7, Terry 4, Watson 2, Satterwhite 2, Connor 2.
NOC Enid — Wallace 19, Eaton 14, Swanson 11, Bates 6, Sullivan 5, Beasler 5, Hough 2, Schumpert 2.
NOC ENID 81, CARL ALBERT 47
CA 13 34 — 47
NOC ENID 39 42 — 81
Carl Albert — Graene 14, Hadden 11, Ashley 8, Gallion 5, Rains 5, Jackson 2, Gracie 2
NOC Enid — Qualls 22, Brooks 18, Espinoza 17, Williams 8, Poitier 4, Bigom 4, Brown 2, Lewis 2, Dean 2, Farmer 2.