By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Raeshaan Finley scored a career-high 13 points, including a dagger and-one layup in the final stretch, and the Enid Plainsmen won a season-high third straight, beating Ponca City 49-40 Thursday at the Mabee Center.
The 5-foot-9, 195-pound junior reserve had back-to-back blocks in the fourth quarter, and with 1:09 left and Ponca City within 40-33, Finley scored through contact and converted a three-point play to put the Plainsmen (7-11) up 43-33 and all but seal the win.
“I have fun going in,” said Finley, who added a steal and one rebound in the game. “When I go in, I know I just need to take advantage of it.”
Finley scored eight points during a 10-0 Enid run in the second quarter that gave the Plainsmen a 22-9 lead, and Ponca City never came closer than five points behind in the second half.
“It’s not surprising that (Finley) scores 13,” said Enid coach Ryan Wilkinson. “We knew he could be a scorer. Now he’s giving it to us on both ends. That’s why he’s getting more playing time.”
Ponca City (7-12) pulled within 40-35 late in the third quarter when Enid hit three shots in the eight-minute frame, but Aaron Austin put back a Jemarcus Jackson miss to put Enid up 32-25 going into the fourth.
“It was one of those games,” Wilkinson said. “It was tough, it was sloppy, and they weren’t calling a lot of fouls, so it was physical. Until the buzzer sounds, I usually never feel comfortable, so I just wanted to keep executing.”
The Plainsmen’s season-long streak includes two straight against teams that beat them earlier in the season. After a 20-point loss to Woodward earlier this season, Enid beat the Boomers by 21 on Tuesday, and Ponca City edged Enid 59-58 after leading by as much as 43-29 on Jan. 18. “Honestly we (were) kind of selfish (earlier in the season),” said Jackson, who scored four points and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds. “We’ve finally gathered as a team, understanding what our weaknesses are, what our strengths are. We’re becoming a team.”
“These guys take it very personal when they get beat by someone, said Wilkinson. “They really take it as a challenge to come back the second time and beat them.”
The win was the third game in a row Enid kept an opponent under 50 points, also a season-high streak.
“We want to keep (teams) under 50,” Wilkinson said. “That’s kind of a goal we have … I think our guys are starting to realize, when we do hold people and keep them in the range in which we think we’re capable of winning games, guess what, we’re magically winning games.”
Deon Parker and Austin each finished with seven points and Keon Parker added six for the Plainsmen, who host Guthrie at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
No. 8 PACERS 41, PONCA CITY 31
An already short-handed Pacers squad was without another starter on Thursday, but No. 8 Enid held off a third-quarter charge from Ponca City, shutting the Lady Wildcats down in the fourth to win their fifth straight at home, 41-31.
Already without freshman Andi Pierce, who started every game before a season-ending injury last month, Enid (15-3) was short another starter on Thursday when Abby Lee was out with flu-like symptoms.
“She came here because she wanted to play for her teammates,” coach Robb Mills said. “But she was dizzy, and she had a bad fever, and she couldn’t do it, so she went home.”
“She was really sick,” teammate Courtney Chelf said.
Myranda Wilkerson filled in for Lee, scoring seven points on 3-for-6 shooting, adding three rebounds and a pair of blocks in her first career start.
“I was nervous,” Wilkerson said. “It was quite the experience.”
“She did a good job,” Mills said. “It was a big step up, so kudos to her. She played good defense, she listened, and she gave us some offense, too.”
After taking a 13-12 lead into the second quarter, Enid opened with an 8-2 run to lead 21-14, keeping stride into halftime with a 26-19 advantage.
The Pacers scored just four points in the third quarter, and two Kendall Dunn free throws to open the fourth pulled the Lady Wildcats (5-14) to within 30-29, the closest since the start of the second.
But Chelf scored all 11 of the Pacers’ fourth-quarter points, Dunn fouled out with 2:10 left in the game and Ponca City couldn’t add to the scoreboard without her.
Dunn, who played much of the fourth quarter with four fouls and finished with a team-high 16 for the Lady Wildcats, was whistled for her fifth fighting Chelf for a rebound.
Without Lee in a game that was never a certainty, Enid played its opening lineup of Chelf, Wilkerson, Haven Bay, Grace Enmeier and Shelley Mueller all 32 minutes.
“I was tired,” Wilkerson said. “We had to slow down the pace, run a lot of plays.”
“I do think there was some fatigue,” Mills said. “But I liked the matchups, and I liked how things were going … Good teams find a way to win. They handle adversity, and that’s what this team is doing. It wasn’t about not having confidence in people, I just liked where my team was.”
Chelf finished with a game-high 18 points, falling a basket short of scoring 20 or more in four straight games, a run that would have been a career first, and Bay added 10 for the Pacers, who host Guthrie at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the third of four straight home games.
ENID 41, PONCA CITY 31
PONCA 12 7 8 4 — 31
ENID 13 13 4 11 — 41
Ponca: Dunn 16, Hull 9, Cerrhy 4, Peresko 2
Enid: Chelf 18, Bay 10, Myranda 7, Enmeier 4, Mueller 2
ENID 49, PONCA CITY 40
PONCA 7 7 11 15 — 40
ENID 6 18 8 17 — 49
Ponca: Shook 11, Nanni 11, Nimmo 9, Stuemky 6, Hibler 3
Enid: Finley 13, D. Parker 7, Austin 7, K. Parker 6, Jackson 4, Walker 4, Majors 3, Baker 3, Banks 2