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Eastern takes 18-point loss in Thanksgiving Classic

Eneily Rodriguez gets the offense set against Central Baptist earlier this season.
Eneily Rodriguez gets the offense set against Central Baptist earlier this season.
By Corey Stolzenbach, McAlester News-Capital

 

Brandon Taylor plans on shaking things up.

The head coach for the Lady Mountaineers (5-4) is clearing all five positions prior to Tuesday's scheduled NJCAA Division I Region II opener against Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. Taylor said this following Eastern Oklahoma State College dropping a 92-74 game against Southern Arkansas University Tech at the Dunlap Field House Saturday in what was the second and final game for them of the Eastern Oklahoma Thanksgiving Classic.

"We've got to re-look at some stuff moving forward and make some adjustments," Taylor said. "I think it was more of players not showing up and ready to play today like they should have been."

He said he had "no idea" who he wanted to go with for Tuesday's game. Taylor said he is looking for five players who want to get the job done.

Saturday's game was a turnaround of less than 24 hours for the Lady Mountaineers, who came off of a 66-64 comeback win against Jacksonville College on Friday night. However, Taylor does not think such a turnaround should be used as an excuse.

"When you're a basketball player and this is what you love to do, the quick turnarounds don't matter," he said. "You've got to be ready at all times."

The Lady Mountaineers did try their hand at a comeback on Saturday after they completed one on Friday. It was a 60-46 lead for the Lady Rockets in the third quarter before Eastern went on a 10-0 run. A defensive breakdown led to a bucket from Tyquesha Selvy, though the Lady Mountaineers responded and it was 62-58.

However, those two four-point deficits were the closest the Lady Mountaineers had gotten to reclaiming the lead for the first time since early in the opening quarter. SAU Tech proceeded to close out the game on a 30-16 run, denying Eastern a third consecutive win.

Neither team got off to a big run to open the game. It was tied, 20-20, after Eastern's K'Neshia Bush knocked down a 3-pointer. Bush had a team-high 26 points after mustering only four on Friday evening.

"One thing about her is she was prepared," Taylor said of Bush. "She prepares for every game."

However, Eastern went cold after Bush's game-tying shot. The Lady Rockets proceeded to go on an 11-0 run. It wasn't until an inside bucket from Deborrah Crutchfield ended the run and got Eastern back on the board. The first quarter ended with the Lady Mountaineers being in a 31-22 deficit.

Eastern was not able to regain the lead or tie it from that point forward. The Lady Mountaineers did trim it down to a 33-26 deficit thanks to a penetration bucket by McKenzie Patton, but the Lady Rockets were able to sustain their lead in the second quarter.

Still, it was a single-digit game going into the locker room at halftime, as the Lady Mountaineers were in a 48-40 deficit. SAU Tech opened up the second half on a 12-6 run before the Lady Mountaineers tried to come from behind for the second game in a row, but to no avail.

"Today, we pretty much let them bully us," he said. "We had tons of opportunities to where people could take charges and step up and get decent blocks, but some of them didn't want to do that. So, we've got to get back to that."

The Lady Mountaineers have two days to prepare before the scheduled 6:30 p.m. game on Tuesday against NEO.

"I want to see pride and toughness in our defense," Taylor said.