By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Northern Oklahoma College Enid discovered the hazards of pre-planning a victory celebration Thursday night against Cowley County (Kan.) at the Mabee Center.
The “victory celebration’’ may have been more like a wake after the Tigers swept the Lady Jets and Jets, taking the women’s game 58-50 and the men’s 84-74.
The losses dropped the Lady Jets to 2-2 overall and the Jets to 3-1. NOC Enid’s women visit Rhema Bible College tonight.
Jeremy Espinoza and Dalen Qualls both had 15 points for the Jets, who made a late run, thanks to finding the three-point range late.
Qualls hit back-to-back 3-pointers within 20 seconds of each other at the 1:57 and 1:37 marks and Connor Brooks hit a trey to cut the lead to 76-68 with 1:01 left.
However, the Tigers were able to finish the game off at the foul line. The closest the Jets would get after that was 81-74, with 14 seconds left after a basket by Giovanni Poitier.
Ben Vozolla led Cowley with 21 points, including four treys. He was followed by James Milliken with 14, and Dominique McKay with 13.
Brooks was the other Jet player in double figures with 11.
NOC Enid overcame an early 7-0 deficit to lead by as many as four points (22-18 with 10:04 left) in the first half.
Espinoza hit a trey with 5:36 left in the first half to give the Jets a 26-24 lead. NOC Enid, though, would hit only one field goal over the next eight minutes.
Cowley took advantage to go on a 15-6 spurt to go up 41-32 with 16:52 remaining. The Tigers steadily built up their lead, thanks to both 3-points and going to the basket, to lead by as many as 19, 72-53 after a Curtis Evans basket with 5:59 remaining.
COWLEY 58, NOC ENID 50
The stats told the story for the Lady Jets, who looked anything but a team that was ranked No. 9 in the preseason.
NOC Enid had 35 turnovers and was 11 of 40 from the field. Marisha Wallace was 8-of-12 from the field in a 31-point performance. The rest of her teammates were 3 of 28.
“We were not very good tonight,’’ said Lady Jets coach Scott Morris. “We lost our composure and made it tough on ourselves. Cowley is a good team. You can’t do that against a good team.’’
The Lady Tigers weren’t that impressive either, going only 14 of 52 from the field and committing 27 turnovers. They were 20 of 28 from the line, compared to 27 of 36 for the Lady Jets in the sloppy game.
“That was two teams that weren’t real disciplined in trying to execute,’’ Morris said. “They just did what they did better than we did.’’
Wallace gave the Lady Jets their last lead of the game at 26-24 when she hit two free throws with 15:34 remaining.
The Lady Tigers answered with a 13-1 run to go up 37-27 after a three-pointer by Devery Alexander with 10:22 remaining.
The Lady Jets could get no closer than five points the rest of the way. Cowley kept NOC Enid in the game with numerous fouls.
Wallace received little help. Only three of her teammates scored. The Lady Jets made only one three-point basket.
“Marisha is the foundation of this team,’’ Morris said. “She came in and played tough. We just got to get a system going. We got to play harder and smarter. It’s too early to throw in the towel, but we better make some changes or it’s going to be a long season.’’
Megan Honas led Cowley with 18 points.