ENID, Okla. — Rance Kendrick hitta driving jumper going to the basket with 4.6 seconds left to cap a 10-0 run and give the Northern Oklahoma College Enid Jets a 70-69 victory over Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference rival Seminole Monday at the Mabee Center.
The comeback victory gave NOC Enid a split of the conference doubleheader. Seminole had used a 25-7 run in the fourth quarter to hand the Lady Jets their third straight loss, 67-56.
The Jets (14-10, 5-5) held the Trojans scoreless over the last 2:44 and finally began to find their way offensively. Kendrick’s heroics were set up when Josh Perkins rebounded a missed shot by Latarryus Smith with 22 seconds left. The Jets called time with 18.1 seconds left after getting the ball past the half-court line.
The play was originally set up to free up Ikenna Okeke, who had cut the lead to 69-68 with two free throws with 43.6 seconds left. The Trojans, though, “blew up the play by trapping it,’’ said Jets head coach Aaron Butcher.
Zach McDermott, who hit the Jets’ lone three with 58.1 seconds, was double-teamed, but found Kendrick open.
“At that point, it’s just basketball smarts and making a play,’’ Butcher said. “Zach did a good job of staying composed and found Rance. Rance did exactly what he was supposed to do.’’
Kendrick was ready to be the hero even though the play wasn’t originally for him.
“It came down to whoever got open took the last shot,’’ he said. “I’m glad I got it. It was exciting. I knew it was going in. I had a nice touch. It was good. We just stayed composed, did our thing and closed out the game in the end. We showed maturity at the end.”
To Butcher, it was all about the Jets’ growing maturity. A month ago at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, the Jets were in a similar position, but “settled’’ for a 15-foot jump shot which missed.
“Instead of settling, he attacked and finished it,’’ Butcher said. “It was a great play all around. A month ago, we don’t win that game. It shows our growth. When it was 69-60, the guys in the huddle kept talking about winning the next play and we did.’’
Smith had hit back-to-back threes to give Seminole a 69-60 lead with 2:44 left. The Trojans (15-8, 5-5) wouldn’t score again.
“We just stayed grounded,’’ Kendrick said. “We closed out their shooters and tried to finish possessions.’’
Okeke had missed two free throws earlier in the half. Butcher said he showed his progress by being able to block that out. Okeke, like Kendrick, had attacked the rim to draw the foul.
NOC Enid led 45-33 at halftime after Andrew O’Brien hit a trey at the buzzer. O’Brien, before the rally, had been the Jets’ lone consistent performer on offense in the second half. His follow up dunk after a Josh Crutchfield miss with 6:22 remaining to cut the lead to 59-58.
The winning shot was Kendrick’s lone field goal of the second half.
NOC Enid had a balanced attack with Jalen Stamps and Perkins both scoring 16, followed by McDermott with 11 and Okeke with 10. The Jets were 17 of 38 from the field in the first half and survived a 9 of 24 second half.
“We were in a little of a rut,’’ said Butcher about the scoring slump. “This is a big win because they were a game ahead of us in the conference. The conference standings are tight and we needed a win.’’
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The fourth quarter was a disaster for the Lady Jets (15-6, 6-4). They were only 3 of 14 from the field, missed both free throw attempts and committed seven turnovers. Seminole was 10 of 19 from the field. The Belles outscored the Lady Jets 23-4 after Shelby Black’s lone three of the night gave NOC Enid a 52-46 lead.
Madelyn Hankins was the lone bright spot for the Lady Jets with 20 points. NOC Enid was 18 of 63 from the field. Kryslyn Jones led the Belles with 19 points.
“The kids played hard, they just seemed out of position,’’ said NOC Enid assistant coach William Milton. “Our energy didn’t match the other team’s.’’
“They came ready to play and we didn’t — end of story,’’ said Lady Jets redshirt sophomore Tanara Combs. “I just felt like we didn’t keep the throttle down and gave up a little too easy.’’
Combs, who was ill, missed all seven of her shots, but she didn’t blame being sick.
“There’s no excuse why I didn’t play better,’’ she said.
NOC Enid travels to NOC Tonkawa on Thursday.