February 13, 2013

Chicks build momentum for regionals

CHICKASHA — Chickasha got some much-needed depth to its lineup, with Montana Stonecalf returning to the rotation in the Chicks' win over Durant on Tuesday.

Stonecalf, who was projected to be a starter before the season, has missed the entire season with a foot injury.

He made his debut with 2:25 left in the second quarter. He didn't score, but provided a spark on the defensive end although his aggressive play caused him to foul out by the third quarter.

"Montana played some good defense, came in just fouling everybody," head coach Bryan Merritt said. "I guess he was making up for lost time, trying to foul out in four minutes. He did a good job in the first half, but he almost single-handedly put them in the bonus. But he plays hard all the time, so that was good."

Stonecalf only had one practice prior to the game, so it may take some time before he is able to contribute consistently on offense.

"Monday was his first practice," Merritt said. "So offensively right now, he's not going to do much. I don't even know if he can make a free throw. But what he does, he plays really good defense and he rebounds."

Early on, it looked like Chickasha was in for a close game, playing to a 17-17 tie in the first quarter.

"We weren't playing a bit of defense in the first quarter," Merritt said. "It was like an AAU game. We would score, then we'd let them score. The only time we're good is when we play defense and rebound."

The Fightin' Chicks played defense in the second quarter. Chickasha didn't allow Durant to score a single point until the Lions hit a free throw with 1:37 left in the second.

Chickasha started the second quarter on a 14-0 run, and only allowed one field goal in the period, a layup at the halftime buzzer.

"I just kept yelling and yelling, it wasn't anything special," Merritt said. "Then they decided to play defense and rebound a little bit, and that's when we got the push."

Chickasha maintained its double-digit lead throughout the second half for the win.

E.J. Golightly was Chickasha's leading scorer with 27 points, but Merritt said he still wanted the senior guard to be more aggressive throughout the game.

"E.J. keeps bothering me," Merritt said. "You would think someone who averages 24 points, I wouldn't have to yell at him to shoot. He's a great player, and he needs to go and do that the whole time."

Joey Sylvester scored 24 points, as he and Golightly scored enough themselves to beat the Lions.

Chickasha has one more regular season game against Shawnee, and Merritt said it is another toss-up game for his team.

"Pretty much you can take El Reno, Noble, us, Shawnee, and just put us in a box and shake it up and grab a team, and that's who might win that night," Merritt said. "It's pretty even in this conference."

Chickasha will tip off against Shawnee at 8 p.m. Friday at the Chickasha High School Activity Center.

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