Dec 5, 2018
Goodwell, Okla.—Tuesday evening brought an early Thanksgiving bounty for both the Panhandle State women’s and men’s basketball teams. Each team collected a win, with the women defeating Northern New Mexico College 69-48 and the men’s team taking a 98-90 victory over Our Lady of the Lake University.
The Aggie women won three of four quarters and owned a 36-19 advantage at halftime. The Eagles battled back in the fourth quarter (18-17), but could not overcome their first half deficit. Senior guard Monti Regier had a breakout performance, with a game-high of 23 points and seven of eight baskets coming from three-point range. Regier’s efforts edged her closer to claiming a school record for career three-points made; she is currently one shot away from owning the second place slot. Senior Taylor Acosta accounted for 13 points and led the game in assists with four. Sophomore Naomi Rodriguez and freshman Kaylee Morgan led the Aggies off the bench, scoring eight and seven points respectively. Addison Munsch also added eight points for Panhandle.
Defensively, the Aggies outmatched their opponents 30-18 on the boards and brought down eight offensive rebounds. Shambri Kelso held the game-high in rebounds with eight, and Rodriguez finished with six. Kim Best, Hannah Faulks and Kelsea Illengo each had five boards for the Aggies. Rodriguez also came away with three steals on the night to lead the team. For the game, the Aggies totaled 15 points off turnovers, 11 on second-chance shots and amassed 18 points from non-starters.
The Aggies now hold a 4-2 season record on the season. Head Coach Victor Esparza extolled, “We played much better offensively and were able to hit shots; that gave us energy on the defensive end of the court.” He continued, “I felt like we played great defense for 35 minutes, and just need to find a way to compete for the full 40.” Esparza elaborated on the group effort stating, “I am really happy with the way we played as a team and helped each other out. Monti [Regier] had a big day and I’m very proud of her. Overall, I’m pleased with the group and them finding a way to get the win.”
Men’s Coach Aaron Coombs also came away singing his teams’ praises saying, “I’m happy with the win and so proud of our guys and that this really means something to them. We were coming off two days of bad practices where we really challenged them, and I was proud to see them respond well and compete at a really high level tonight.”
Coombs saw this matchup with OLLU as a barometer game before entering conference play and was extremely pleased with their performance. “It was not perfect, but our ability to make plays on offense is something I just haven’t experienced as a coach.” The Aggies owned a 49-38 lead after the first twenty minutes of play. Although the Saints outscored the Aggies after the break, Panhandle never relinquished their lead through the full 40 minutes.
Breiman Alexander bested his last big showing by producing 41 points for Panhandle, and notching a double-double with ten rebounds against the Saints. He was also credited with four assists and two steals in the game. Two more Aggies achieved double-double status as Baris Ulker offered up 22 points and 11 rebounds, and Alan Hodge Jr. ended with 20 points and ten boards. Hodge led the team in assists with five and Ulker held the game-high in both blocks and steals with three apiece. “Defensively, this was our best game thus far. We communicated well and did a great job of trying to follow the scouting report,” offered Coombs.
Off the bench, sophomore Hank Harrel contributed seven points and six rebounds after sitting out the previous two games with an injury. “Hank [Harrel] gave us great minutes off the bench,” Coombs commented. “His toughness is unmatched.” Expounding on the efforts of the non-starters Coombs continued, “Our bench was fantastic again. The communication and energy they bring is worth ten points a game.”
The Aggie men managed the boards, out-rebounding OLLU 44-27. Both teams scored nine points off turnovers, with the Aggies outscoring their opponents 12-1 in second-chance points. Coach Coombs closed his comments saying, “This was a solid group win against a good team. Everyone who played tonight did something to help us win.”
Both Aggie teams will take a few days off for Thanksgiving before preparing for their Sooner Athletic Conference openers on Nov. 29 against Mid-America Christian. The men’s team will travel to Stephenville, Texas in the interim to take part in an exhibition game against Tarleton State on Nov. 24. The two teams return to Anchor D Arena to host their conference openers against MACU on the 29th with the women’s game beginning at 6 p.m. and the men following at 8 p.m. Those wishing to follow along from home, may tune in via live stats and video links offered online at opsuaggies.com.
Fans will also enjoy a treat from the Aggie Cheer team on Nov. 29 as they perform their competition routine during the men’s halftime. Guests can also help spread holiday cheer by bringing new toys or children’s coats to drop in the collection box for a toy drive held by the Goodwell Police Department. Those bringing donations will receive a raffle ticket to be entered into a drawing to win an autographed Panhandle State logo basketball signed by both teams. The Aggie Student Athletic Advisory Committee will also be holding a penny war during the remainder of the fall basketball homes games, with all proceeds going to Christmas Cheer for Children.
Jul 2, 2019
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