MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

February 22, 2014

Good, bad for MHS girls: Muskogee beats Union, loses two to injuries

By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor

— Muskogee avenged its earlier loss to Union and got some much-needed momentum with a potential regional finals rematch on the horizon next Saturday. But it might’ve come at a cost.

The Lady Roughers pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 57-49 Senior Night victory, but it was during that quarter where two players went down hard.

Reserve Danazia Brown suffered what was determined to be a broken nose and a possible cheek bone fracture on a loose-ball scramble, then moments later MHS lost its starting post girl. Lanice Rozell had to be carried off in immense pain from what was feared to be a broken ankle. Later the news came down that it was a sprain and she was fitted at the hospital with an ankle boot pending further examination.

The double-whammy wobbled Muskogee as Union cut what was a nine-point deficit to one, 45-44 on Taylor Malham’s basket with just under four minutes to play.

Needing a push from someone, Leigh Westbrook stepped up.

Westbrook had just five points on the night, but none were more significant than her putback off Aaliyah Wilson’s miss. That seemed to settle everyone, including Wilson, who hit a pair of free throws and then swished a spinning layup to make it a 51-44 game.

“I guess it was my time to shine. We needed  to bring the team together,” Westbrook said.

Wilson had 10 fourth-quarter points to live up to her billing as the team’s leading scorer, topping her squad with 15.

“I had a weak shot and she had my back,” Wilson said. “Leigh crashed the boards and got the shot. It looks like we might have to use all we got and those people on the bench are going to have to step up in some big roles next week.”

No. 8 Muskogee (19-4) will take a four-game win streak into its own Class 6Aregional next Thursday at 8 p.m. against Stillwater. No. 12 Union gets Sand Springs in the opener at 6:30. The Lady Redskins (14-8), who beat MHS 60-49 at Union in January as part of a six-game win streak, have dropped four of their last five.

Union had led most of the first half before the Lady Roughers closed on an 8-2 run to tie matters. Rozell gave them the lead on free throws early in the third, and they gradually pushed it out to a four-point cushion, 36-32, through three periods.

Trena Mims started and finished with 14 points, Rozell had nine and Westbrook had 10 rebounds.  Wilson had eight rebounds and one blocked shot.

“I’m hoping we won’t be down anyone but it’s all up in the air,” MHS coach Doyle Rowland said. “But we had some people step up big for us tonight and that’s something we need every night regardless of who is out there

“Leigh’s game-ready. She’s going to give us what we can and I’m not afraid to put her in that spot. Zomaree isn’t as used to that situation but those free-throws were big and she also had some big rebounds in the fourth quarter.”

Union’s Esther Udoumoh led all scorers with 17 points. Destiny Climson had 12.

Of Muskogee’s three seniors — Makayla McCall, Aerious King and Jaylynn Evans, only McCall figured in the points, hitting one free throw. All three drew a start on Senior Night.



Boys:

Union 72, MHS 57


Muskogee led 6-2 before the Redskins answered with a 14-2 run and led 19-13 after one. They would never trail from that point, sending four Muskogee seniors off the floor for the final time with a loss.

The Roughers will take an 11-10 mark into next Friday’s regional at Union against Sapulpa in a 6:30 p.m. tipoff. Union (21-2) and Enid are on the other side with the winners playing on Saturday.

Shawn Olden, who torched the Roughers for 33 in the 69-52 win at Union in January, led the Redskins again with 17 points, but 10 of those came in the fourth quarter. His team was two points away from having six players in double figures - Abel Rodriguez had 14, Ethan Chargois 11, Carson Meier 10 and Jeff Mead and Bain Wannemacher each finished with 9.

Mead, Rodriguez and Meier each ended the game with four fouls each. Muskogee was 14-of-23 from the line and was hampered by 17 turnovers.

“A good team over there,” Muskogee coach Josh Berry said of the No. 3 squad in 6A. “You have to play sound against them. We had too many turnovers, we took some charges that didn’t quite get called. But we got to move and prepare for Friday.”

Three three-year starters finished in double figures for the Roughers: David Beasley had 17, Anthony King and Tramal Ivy 14. The other senior, Andre Biglow, had 14.

“I have to thank those guys for coming out, working, putting in a lot of time and trust in us,” Berry said. “I know they’ll be great young men in the future. I’m glad I got to coach them.”