By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
WARNER – With 11:18 left in the game and the score tied at 41-41, Connors State’s Denell Henderson knew he had to go to work.
“I had to step up for my team and be a leader for them,” the 6-foot-7 sophomore forward said. “I had to score and get boards.”
Henderson scored six points in a 13-4 scoring run to power the Cowboys to the 64-54 victory against the Carl Albert Vikings in Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference action at Melvin Self Field House on Thursday night.
He finished with a team-high 16 points on 6 of 10 shooting from the field. He also had six rebounds. Henderson agreed with coach Bill Muse that the Cowboys were stagnant until the second half.
“We came out a little slow,” he said. ‘We had to all come together. We gathered up at halftime and came out with the win.”
Muskogee graduate Adrion Webber, a 6-5 sophomore who finished with a team-high 16 points for Carl Albert, was impressed with Henderson’s play.
“Our posts couldn’t contain him,” Webber said. “He was tough. He’s a good player. He took over the game for them.”
Muse said he knew Carl Albert was capable of pulling off the upset.
“They had us down 12 in the first half at Carl Albert. They have a team that can play,” he said. “They played us hard (tonight), We started playing harder and with more energy. We won and I’m happy about the victory.”
The Cowboys, ranked No. 22 in the National Junior College Athletic Association poll and now 17-4 overall and 8-3 in the OCAC, led 54-45 after the run. The Vikings (2-17, 0-10) never threatened after that.
Josh Cameron had 15 points and Willie Atwood added 12 for the Cowboys, who are tied with Northern-Tonkawa for the conference lead.
Besides Webber, the other double figure scorers for the Vikings were LaShawn Gallion (11) and Jaymere Hadden (10).
Connors is off until Feb. 4 when it plays at Redlands. The Cowboys’ next home game is Feb. 7 against Northeastern A&M.
Carl Albert 69,
Make no mistake about it. The Cowgirls are struggling.
With leading scorer Raven Massey out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and starter Tiarra Hall battling bronchitis, the Cowgirls had problems with their shooting in the first half in falling to the Lady Vikings.
It was their third straight loss.
“We’re just really beat up right now,” coach Eddie Kite said.
The Cowgirls only made six of 33 shots from the field in the first 20 minutes, including 3 of 18 from 3-point range and 3 of 15 from inside the arc.
“We weren’t smart with the ball,” Kite said. “We weren’t locked in. It was just a bad game. We’ve got some work to do. We’ll get it fixed. They didn’t quit and that’s a good thing.”
The Cowgirls (12-8, 4-7) outscored the Lady Vikings 35-31 in the second half.
Individually, Tonisha Dean scored 16 of game-high 22 points in the second half to lead the Cowgirls. Kami Bunch added 11.
D Janelle Brown led Carl Albert (8-11, 4-6) with 18 points and Ericka Edwards of Roland added 16.
Connors returns to action at 2 p.m. Saturday in West Memphis, Ark., against Mid-South Community College.