By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
Muskogee’s best bet on this night might’ve come – and gone – early in the first quarter when Jenks guard Jessica Washington slipped, fell, and had to be helped off the court.
The problem? She healed quickly, returning to light up the Lady Roughers for 51 points, more than any player has had in Doyle Rowland’s tenure.
Add to it 12 rebounds, and the North Carolina signee was out in front of her team in an 83-68 victory at Ron Milam Gymnasium on Friday night.
Call it an upset based on rankings. Muskogee (5-2, 2-2 Frontier Conference) was ranked ninth in the Okrankings.com Class 6A coaches poll. Jenks (6-5, 3-1), and particularly Washington, had their say on this night.
Washington’s free throws with 29 seconds to play put her past the half-century mark. She finished It left a sour taste in the mouth of Rowland, who has always put a special emphasis on defense going into this, his fifth season and coming off a state quarterfinal year.
“They know how to get her open and let’s face it, she’s the heart and soul of that team,” Rowland said. “And she was getting one, two, sometimes three screens every time down. But we’ve got to have the right mind-set to rotate our defense and the closest girl pick her up. When you don’t, you’re going to get torched and we got torched tonight.”
The 5-foot-8 Washington left with 6:33 on the first quarter clock, tweaking her left knee in what was then a 4-2 Lady Trojans’ advantage. She returned with just over 4 minutes to go and her team’s final nine points of the quarter to give her team a 22-10 advantage. By halftime, had 28. She had 41 after three quarters.
Down by as many as 21 late in the third quarter, Muskogee rallied to within seven at 69-62 on free throws by Alexus Wilson with 4:23 to play. A spin move for a 10-footer and a 3-point shot on back-to-back possessions, bumped it back to 12 and the Lady Roughers wouldn’t get any closer.
Kelsey McClure had 19 points to lead MHS, followed by Aaliyah Wilson with 15. Mari Jackson had 10 points and 14 rebounds and Alexus Wilson had nine points.
Washington did a lot (six 3-pointers, 18-of-22 from the line after an 0-for-3 start), but she wasn’t alone. Jenks freshman Jensen Prince also got into double figures with 14 points
“We were off three weeks, we had good practices but I didn’t know how we’d react,” Rowland said. “They just came off a tournament last week and I’m sure they were a little more sharp coming in. They beat us in every aspect.”
Jenks was playing minus one starter — post Emily Dennis tore her ACL in the third-place game of the Tournament of Champions last week. She was a source of motivation for Washington, particularly when she went down early.
“I stepped the wrong way and kind of hyperextended (the knee) and it didn’t feel too good,” Washington said. “But I promised I’d play every game for her.”
MHS plays Checotah at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Civic Center in the Bedouin Shrine Classic.
Jenks 70, MHS 52
The boys game went according to the rankings. No. 6 Jenks (5-3, 4-1) was 6-of-8 from 3-point range in opening a 36-26 halftime advantage and pushed it to 23, 63-43, in the fourth quarter.
Unranked Muskogee fell to 3-4, 2-2.
“They shot well but I think it ultimately came down to 50-50 ball (getting beat on loose balls and rebounds) and we’ve got to go get those. We also allowed too many straight line drives,” MHS coach Josh Berry said.
Forward Anthony King had 20 points for the Roughers while center Tramal Ivy had 19 to go with eight rebounds and one blocked shot. Guard David Beasley was held to six points and a season-low one field goal on 1-of-9 shooting.
Jenks’ Luke Phillips had 26 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and seven rebounds.
The Roughers could get another meeting with Jenks next week in the Shrine Classic but first must face Checotah in a 9 p.m. tipoff on Monday night at the Civic Center.