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By Glen Miller
Hitting baskets at key points in the game, a problem which has haunted El Reno High School’s girls basketball team all season, reared its ugly head again in the second half of the U.S. 81 rivalry game with Chickasha.
El Reno, ranked No.20 in the latest Class 5A poll, was outscored 22-11 over the final two periods by the 18th-ranked Chicks en route to a 46-34 loss.
“You look at the last six quarters that we played against them, every quarter was usually within one point, so it’s been close. However, in the second half, it just came down to the fact that we couldn’t hit any shots,” said El Reno head coach Renie Whittern.
The loss was the fourth in a row for El Reno, which slipped to 6-13 overall and 3-8 in the Suburban Conference standings.
Whittern says El Reno’s second-half scoring woes were due partly to Chickasha’s size advantage in the paint.
“Their big girls underneath shut down any inside game that we had with 10 blocks, turning us into an outside shooting team, and we couldn’t hit,” said Whittern.
El Reno struggled to an 11-of-51 effort from the field for 21.6 percent, which included a 6-of-23 game from the 3-point arc for 26.1 percent. The Indians were 6-of-11 from the free-throw line for 54.4 percent.
“Their size gives us trouble, and they have dominated us on the boards for two games. When you’re not hitting shots, every possession becomes more valuable, every turnover becomes more crucial, and every rebound you miss out on is that much more vital.
“So it just puts more pressure on each player every possession when shots aren’t falling, and we could just never recover from it,” said Whittern.
Chickasha led 13-11 after one period with El Reno getting five points from Sheridan Gray and two inside baskets from Regan Owen.
El Reno closed to within 24-23 at the half behind a 12-11 scoring edge in the second period. Sierra Bellymule, Alaney Karty and Jentri Thompson sparked the run with a 3-pointer each.
However, El Reno was outscored 11-2 in the third period as EHS logged only two Owen free throws. Chickasha polished off the win with an 11-9 edge in the fourth period, despite a pair of 3-pointers by Gray.
El Reno led in only two statistical categories with an 11-0 edge in points off the bench and a 7-6 edge in assists. Chickasha held the edge in rebounds (30-14), turnovers (26-22), steals (10-8) and paint points (40-22).
Gray was the top scorer for El Reno with 12 points in addition to three assists, a rebound, a steal and a blocked shot. Owen added eight points, five rebounds and three steals.
Thompson chipped in eight points, two boards and a steal. Karty closed with three points, a rebound, a steal and an assist. Bellymule had three points, two rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Teresa Blurton had a rebound and a steal, followed by two caroms and an assist from Allora Bellymule.