Eastern basketball notches conference wins in thrilling fashion
WILBURTON (Jan. 10, 2017) — Eastern Oklahoma State College basketball returned from winter break refreshed and ready to play.
The Lady Mountaineers, having already played two games since the Christmas holiday, used those returning games to their advantage as they continued conference play on Monday against Western Oklahoma State College.
Both teams wanted to play fast with full court pressure, but the Lady Mountaineers’ conditioning in the early months proved to pay off on their way to a 94-58 win.
Eastern women's head coach Amber Taylor said she was proud of the way her team was able to keep their edge even after taking a holiday break.
“This was our third game back,” Taylor said. “Our kids are just ready to compete, they’re ready to play. They’re tired of practicing, and it’s good to play in front of your home crowd.”
The Big Blue faithful were not disappointed, as the Eastern women exploded on offense, with Arielle Brown leading the way with 19 points, followed by Taylor Tennison with 18, while Karrington Brown scored 14 points and Jasmine Williams notched 11.
“We talk about that a lot. It’s not one person, it’s not five people,” Taylor said of getting contributions across the board. “We talk about being a team and doing what you’ve got to do for a win.”
Taylor was very happy with the way her team has continued to play as a unit, noting that they’ll need that cohesion going forward as Region II play is very competitive. But on Monday night, Taylor was all smiles.
“It’s great to be 2-0 in conference,” she said.
As for the Mountaineer men’s team, they saw a sluggish first half where the scoreboard read 1-0 for nearly five minutes. But after taking a slim lead at halftime, head coach Scott Edgar lit a fire under his team out of the locker room on its way to a thrilling 116-78 win.
“There was no flow to the game in the first half,” Edgar said. “And I told them they still scored 45 points. I knew that if we could keep pushing and playing Eastern basketball, we could get flowing in the second half.”
The player that achieved the most flow came in the form of former Red Oak grad Brad Davis, who hit five from beyond the arc on his way to 25 points.
“He’s a great basketball player, but it kind of surprised me at first at how great he was,” Edgar said. “But I tell him all the time that he doesn’t understand how great he could be if he stays hungry and humble.”
Edgar said that he recently had a run in with his friend Travis Ford — formerly of Oklahoma State, now at Saint Louis — and when Edgar mentioned Davis and what he could do, Ford’s “eyes kind of lit up.”
Davis, however, took a more humble approach, saying that he’s just doing what is needed for the team, whether it’s draining threes or his signature no-look assists.
“I really don’t just look at trying to get open,” Davis said. “But if their hands are down, you know: hand down, man down.”
Davis was assisted in his offensive efforts by Chris Owens with 18 points, Tyree Beason with 17 and Jerry Hurt with 13. Edgar said he couldn’t be happier with the way his team performed, but when the clock struck 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, it was time to go back to work.
“This was a must-win if you still want to talk about winning a conference championship,” he said. “That’s still the original goal.”