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By Glen Miller
EDMOND – Committing 15 turnovers and logging 18 empty possessions over the final three periods, third-ranked Deer Creek gave El Reno High School’s girls basketball team opportunities for another cliffhanger outing – much like their first meeting.
The only trouble was that El Reno, ranked No.20 in the same Class 5A poll, was unable to take advantage of the gifts from the Antlers.
The Indians committed 18 turnovers and logged 29 empty possessions (no points) over the same three periods en route to a 53-28 loss.
“Stats-wise, we pretty much matched up with them. The first time we played them we beat their press and got them out of that press in the first quarter. We had no problems with it (press) and we hit the shots.
“Tonight for some reason we were too passive. We were not attacking enough when we rotated the ball and we were not reading the defense. They (Deer Creek) hit the shots and we didn’t,” said El Reno head coach Renie Whittern.
The loss dropped El Reno to 6-12 on the season and 3-7 in the Suburban Conference standings. The 25-point loss was only the fifth for EHS this season by double digits, with its last three setbacks before the Deer Creek game being by a combined 12 points.
“When you hit shots, everything looks good and when you don’t it looks really bad, it’s a pretty simple game, and we didn’t hit very many shots. We did not execute our offense,” said Whittern.
El Reno had letdowns on both ends of the floor in a game which Whittern felt was pending after dropping so many close outings in recent weeks.
“These girls have been through a bunch. We have had five, six or seven buzzer-beater games and I was waiting for one of these games to have a stinker and not show up.
“We’ve played so hard and the girls have fought for the last month and come up short by two points here, three there and then in overtime. They are young and learning and we are depending on girls to do things they have never done before and they just have to continue to get better,” said Whittern.
The game was close after one period as Deer Creek turned two late turnovers by EHS into baskets and a 17-9 lead. El Reno’s points came on a 3-pointer by Sierra Bellymule and two-point baskets from Alaney Karty and Regan Owen. Teresa Blurton and Owen added a free throw each.
El Reno made only 3-of-7 baskets in the second period, turning the ball over 10 times and logging 12 empty possessions. Owen scored five of the team’s seven points, while Sheridan Gray scored a basket.
Deer Creek led 31-16 at the break.
El Reno’s shooting went from chilly to ice cold in the third period as the Indians missed their first eight attempts, three of those from the 3-point arc. Gray hit two free throws at the 7:20 mark but EHS did not score again until a trey by Bellymule with 24 seconds left – a gap of 6:56.
Bellymule hit a jumper at the buzzer as Deer Creek took a 41-23 margin into the fourth quarter.
El Reno’s cold shooting haunted the Indians the remainder of the game as EHS went 2-of-7 from the field. Jentri Thompson scored the first EHS points of the fourth period on a basket at the 3:36 mark.
The Indians got a Karty free throw but did not score another basket until a Taleigh Davis layup with 6.3 seconds left.
El Reno closed the game shooting 8-of-29 (27 percent) from 2-point range and 2-of-7 (28 percent) from the perimeter for a combined 27 percent shooting effort. The Indians were 6-of-13 from the line for 46 percent.
Sierra Bellymule logged eight points and two steals, followed by eight points, eight rebounds, a steal and an assist from Owen. Gray added four points and two caroms.
Karty logged three points and three boards, followed by two points each from Davis and Thompson. Karty added two assists to her totals, while Allora Bellymule had two rebounds, a block and a dish.