The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 26, 2013

Pacers reach tournament finals

By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News and Eagle

EDMOND, Okla. — Overcoming a six-point halftime deficit, the Enid Pacers, behind a dominating second-half performance, defeated Putnam City North 47-35 Friday to advance to tonight’s girls championship game of the Bruce Gray Invitational at Deer Creek Edmond.

“This win was huge,” said Enid head coach Robb Mills. “We wanted to beat Putnam City North to give us another win over a ranked opponent.” Putnam City North came into the tournament ranked 11th in 6A. Enid currently is ranked ninth.

After a sluggish first half that saw Enid trailing 22-16 at intermission, the Pacers shut out the Lady Panthers with an 11-0 third quarter that was capped by a trey from Courtney Chelf, who had a game-high 21 points, including 13 second-half points. Abby Lee, who scored 6 points, had four points in the Pacers’ 11-0 third quarter run.

Mills said the Pacers simply needed to regroup in the second half and put in place their game plan.

“We needed to pay attention to the defensive end of the floor,” he said regarding the Pacers’ strong second-half performance. “We knew what they were going to do and we talked (at halftime) and put our heads together. We missed four or five layups and didn’t box out, yet we were only down six at half.”

Enid (13-2) continued its dominating second-half play, using a 17-4 run that stretched in to the fourth quarter. Putnam City North never was able to challenge Enid as the Pacers cruised to the 47-35 victory.

Joining Chelf in double digits was Haven Bay, who had 12 points, Grace Enmeier had six points and Shelley Mueller had two points to round out Enid’s scoring.

Nakylia Carter led Lady Panthers’ scorers with 13 points.

The victory was the Pacers’ fourth win in a row and 10th in their past 11 games.

The Pacers will face the winner of Friday night’s late girls semifinal game between host Deer Creek and Mustang at 7 p.m. tonight to decide the tournament title.

“A victory tonight would be unbelievable,” Mills said. “We are clicking and peaking at the right time.”

Fourth quarter dooms Plainsmen

The Enid Plainsmen dropped their fourth-straight game, losing 54-49 to Western Heights Friday in a consolation bracket contest at the Bruce Gray Invitational.

Enid held a slim lead throughout much of the contest and built a six-point advantage at 35-29 early in the fourth quarter before Western Heights went on a 16-2 run, opening up a 45-37 lead midway through the final period.

 Forced to foul, Enid was unable to catch the Jets, who sank nine-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter. Western Heights had 25 fourth-period points after scoring only 29 points through the first three quarters.

“We didn’t play with much intensity,” said Enid head coach Ryan Wilkinson. “We didn’t keep them out of the lane, and gave up too much dribble penetration and a lot of second-chance opportunities.”

The Plainsmen were led in scoring by Deon Parker, who had 11 points. Michael Majors came off the bench and had 7 points for the Plainsmen, all in the second quarter. The loss drops Enid’s record this season to 4-11.

Enid’s past three losses have been by a combined 8 points.

“It’s been up and down and day-to-day,”  Wilkinson said regarding the Plainsmen’s close losses. “But we just didn’t play with the intensity we had (Thursday) night (a 56-54 loss to Mustang). You have to be prepared to play every game.”

The Plainsmen conclude the Bruce Gray Invitational with the seventh-place game at 11:30 a.m. today against Yukon.