By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Want to know what it’s like to ride on a roller coaster?
Just watch the NOC Enid Jets.
The Jets, who missed their first 10 shots of the game, nearly blew an 11-point lead with 2:19 left before outlasting Redlands 69-66 Monday at the Mabee Center.
However, the Lady Jets weren’t as fortunate: They were outscored 14-3 over the last 5:37 to fall to the Lady Cougars 73-70, ending a 12-game winning streak.
NOC Enid’s men, up 65-54 with 2:19 left, saw the lead cut to two, 66-64 after back-to-back baskets by Redlands’ Revey Norton with 23.1 seconds left.
The Jets’ David Lewis, who had missed two free throws with 1:09 left, hit two charity tosses with 14.1 seconds left. Norton responded with a layup five seconds later.
Connor Brooks hit the first of two free throws with 8.4 seconds left, but missed the second to give the Cougars a chance. Norton’s three at the buzzer went off the rim to give the Jets (16-6, 6-4 in Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference) the three-point win.
“It was tight at the end,’’ said Jets assistant Ryan Mahoney, “but we knew what we were doing. We didn’t give up any threes and we only had one foul that we shouldn’t have made. We made enough free throws to win. That’s you all have to do in conference play is to win.’’
The Jets didn’t score from the field until a follow shot by Rex Farmer with 11:41 left in the half. Redlands led 31-24 when NOC Enid coaches Greg Shamburg and Mahoney challenged them.
“We told them they needed to be tougher,’’ Mahoney said. “There was nothing coach Shamburg or I could say or do for them. It wasn’t an X’s and O’s thing. It wasn’t a talent thing. It was a toughness thing.’’
Jeremy Espinoza, held scoreless in the first half, had 15 points in the first 10 minutes of the second period. Dalen Qualls, who led the Jets with 19 points, had 12 points after intermission, including three 3s.
NOC Enid scored the first 10 points of the half and held a 53-41 lead after a Connor Brooks trey with 8:34 left.
“They responded,’’ Mahoney said. “We just have to do it for 40 minutes now. It’s too late in the season to play just half a game.’’
Espinoza said the poor first half made the Jets “mad.’’
“We thought our minds were right at the beginning, but we weren’t,’’ he said. “I’ve gotten into a bad habit of starting slow. I decided to pick it up a bit in the second half. It’s always good to have a W. It picks our faith up a little bit.’’
Espinoza went down late in the game after having a shot blocked while going to the basket. He had ice on his elbow, but returned to the game.
“It hurts right now,’’ he said. “I broke it a while back, but I think I’m going to be all right.’’
Norton led the Cougars (4-6) with 19 points.
“Any win in the conference is a good win,’’ Mahoney said. “It give us some separation, but we have to start games better.’’
NOC ENID 70 (W)
The Lady Jets (17-5, 8-2) scored only one field goal — a layup by Paige Eaton with 21.7 seconds left — in the final 7:40.
Redlands used a 13-0 run to turn a 66-59 deficit with 5:53 left into a 72-66 lead with 1:32 remaining. NOC Enid missed a three at the buzzer, which would have tied the game.
“Our offense was bad, but defense is what lost the game for us,’’ said Lady Jets coach Scott Morris. “We kept getting beat to the ball. When you get beat to the ball, you give up penetration. You give up penetration and you foul on shots. It was just as simple as a lack of mental discipline to close out a game by being in the improper defensive position.’’
Redlands’ Kayla Pahcoddy had 35 points for the Lady Cougars (5-5), who had lost to previously winless NOC Tonkawa last week.
Marisha Wallace had 23 for the Lady Jets, while Chelsea Bates had 18. Christa Beasler had 11.
Wallace was almost unstoppable inside, and Bates was successful driving to the basket. What the Lady Jets couldn’t do was hit outside shots.
“You would think the way Marisha was handling it inside, we would have thrown it in there more,’’ Morris said. “We had to plead and beg for them to throw it inside. We failed to spread it out and get position and good touches.’’
Morris said the Lady Jets had a “decent’’ execution on the final 3-point play, but the Lady Cougars defended it well.
“We were out of sync tonight,’’ Morris said. “Redlands had something to do with that. The reason Marisha had all the touches was that they were pressuring our outside shooters. Marisha should have had 40 points.’’
NOC Enid visits Northeastern A&M Thursday.
“If the kids come out and fight, it will be easier to prepare for NEO than it would have if we had won tonight,’’ Morris said. “You have to see that has to be at the expense of an conference loss.’’