Aaron Colen, Sports Editor, Aaron.Colen@chickashanews.com
The Chickasha and El Reno boys basketball teams are pretty familiar with one another, and not just because they played just one week earlier.
Head coach Bryan Merritt said several of his players knew El Reno players from AAU teams, and that familiarity produced some trash talk and a few technical fouls Tuesday night, as Chickasha beat the Indians 46-32 at home.
Chickasha (10-8) started the game with intensity and pressure out of its half-court man defense, and held the Indians to only one first-quarter point.
“That’s probably the best defense we’ve played since my first year here,” Merritt said. “In that first quarter, we played really good team defense. Every time they drove, we had four guys helping to collapse the lane.”
El Reno didn’t score its first field goal until the beginning of the second quarter, but that shot sparked an 8-0 run to give the Indians the lead.
E.J. Golightly was given the first technical foul of the game for exchanging words with his defender after hitting a 3-point shot with 2:19 left in the first half.
Less than a minute later, a double-technical was called on Datious Dufur and El Reno’s Justin Harris. The tech resulted in Dufur’s fourth personal foul, and he did not play the rest of the game. He has had several technical fouls already this year.“We’ve had some issues there with the T’s,” Merritt said. “So he got that one, and we were going to keep him out. But he did a good job supporting his teammates. He was really excited for them in the locker room. I think he’s learning some lessons, and that’s what we’re here for anyway.”
In Dufur’s absence, Blake Baker, Levi Kell, Deshawn Young and Rashawn Thomas became a rotation of their own, as Dakota Goombi, Golightly and Joey Sylvester stayed on the floor.
“We were fortunate to have Rashawn and Levi back tonight, because if it had been like last Friday and we didn’t have them, we would have probably been in some trouble,” Merritt said.
Chickasha led 19-17 at halftime. The Chicks pulled away in the third quarter, and led by eight after the third with Golightly scoring five straight points to end the quarter.
Even though Chickasha led by double digits in the fourth quarter, both teams were playing aggressively and Chickasha was attacking the basket on almost every play. Merritt had to remind his team to calm down several times, at one point yelling “We’re in the lead, relax!”
Unlike last week’s game, when Chickasha could not close against the Indians and lost in overtime, Chickasha controlled the game from start to finish Tuesday night, which Merritt credits to his team’s defensive effort.
“The biggest thing was we played defense the entire game,” Merritt said. “El Reno has been to the state tournament four years in a row. Tonight, I thought we were just tougher than them.”
El Reno only managed nine field goals in the entire game: five in the first half and four in the second half.
Chickasha High School’s next game is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday at Noble High School.