MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

January 15, 2014

Shaking the Jenks jinx: MHS girls snap losing skid at Jenks while boys avenge Shrine loss

The first thing Doyle Rowland did in the locker room was thank his squad.

It’s been five fruitless trips against Jenks at Jenks. Throw in a regional-round loss on that floor against Claremore, and it’s been, well, a jinx.

No more. Muskogee shook off history with a 68-48 pounding of the Lady Trojans in the Lady Roughers’ first trip to Jenks’ new basketball facility.

Maybe the jinx was in the old gym. Maybe it’s that Jenks, minus North Carolina signee Jessica Washington, is in a rebuilding year.

Well, so was Muskogee after losing a pair of its own Division I players.

Supposedly.

But here the Lady Roughers, 9-1 and winners of five straight contests and up to No. 6 in the OSSAA Class 6A rankings. Jenks, which had started 1-6 but won back-to-back games coming in to this matchup, dropped to 3-7, 0-3

“I told them I appreciated them getting that monkey off my back,” Rowland said. “It’s something my state team didn’t get done and my area team didn’t get done. Finally, it’s off.”

Aaliyah Wilson had 27 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocked shots to lead the way. Muskogee broke from a 31-22 halftime advantage with a re-energized defense that led to the rhythm in transition that worked so well in securing their fifth Bedouin Shrine Classic last week.

The Lady Roughers outscored the Lady Trojans 26-14 in the third quarter to lead 57-36 heading into the fourth.

“I think we were playing a little not to lose the first half, but these girls, there’s no fear of anyone,” Rowland said about his young squad. “We talked about being tentative and how that will get you beat. That all changed in the second half and that’s one good thing about this team. They respond so well.”

Starting with Wilson, the lone returning player who started last year.

“I just wanted to come out here and stomp on Jenks,” the sophomore  said. “I remember our last trip here we didn’t get the turnout we wanted. I told my teammates I didn’t want to come out with an L and another long trip home.”

Jada Ford had 18 points and Trena Mims 13. Lanice Rozell had 9 points, all in the second half.

“We kind of overlooked her inside early. She had chances and we didn’t get her the ball but we made up for it in the second half and she was tough on the boards too (with 7).

“It was a good overall effort. Aerious King, she doesn’t lead those stats, but she was big on defense inside. She battles hard and her five rebounds were big too. We were ourselves defensively. We took three charges in the second half and scored on every one of them.”

Muskogee goes to Bixby on Friday.

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