PIEDMONT – Evident by a No.10 ranking in the first Class 5A poll, many voting coaches were unaware that Eric Carr’s Piedmont team got three move-in starters after Carr was named the Wildcats new head coach.
El Reno High School’s girls basketball coach Jennifer Douglas was not one of those coaches after facing the Wildcats in summer ball and projecting Carr’s team would be a state title contender.
Douglas’ prediction got another firsthand look last week as the Wildcats shot 61 percent from the floor en route to a 71-55 win over the Indians, which were ranked No.4 in the same 5A poll.
“I don’t think a lot of coaches know about those move-ins, plus he didn’t vote in the rankings and he got penalized for that,” said Douglas of Piedmont’s low ranking.
Piedmont was 21-of-34 from 2-point range (61.8 percent) and added a 7-of-18 effort from the 3-point arc for 38.9 percent.
El Reno struggled in the first period with only seven points and trailed 19-7 going into the second period. The Indians started to find a shooting groove before halftime and got 3-pointers from Sierra Sioux and Jaylin Reveles to close to within nine at 27-18.
Piedmont answered with a 7-2 run and led 34-20 at the break.
The Wildcats pulled further away in the third period with a 25-11 scoring break as El Reno managed only two baskets in its first seven possessions of the frame.
The Indians were 5-of-12 from the floor in the third and trailed 59-31 going into the fourth.
The deficit grew to 30 points early in the fourth before El Reno started chipping away at the deficit with three free throws by Merzedes Macias, two from Ashlyn Evans and a basket by Kayla Jones off a steal and feed from Reveles.
El Reno outscored the Wildcats 17-4 over the final three minutes of the game, getting eight points from Evans, three from Jones and two each from Kiera Davis, Charlee Bushyhead and Reveles.
The Indians closed the game hitting 39 percent of their shots, 18-of-46, but struggled from the 3-point arc with a 2-of-16 effort. El Reno was 17-of-24 from the free-throw line for 71 percent.
Reveles was the leading scorer for El Reno with 15 points off 6-of-11 shooting and added three steals and two rebounds.
Evans followed with 14 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Bushyhead tossed in eight points from the paint and grabbed five rebounds, while Jones followed with seven points and four rebounds.
Macias had a line of five points, five assists and two rebounds.
Davis and Sioux scored three points each and combined for five rebounds.