DURANT - It has been described as the “biggest rivalry in small college sports.” East Central Univer-sity basketball teams came to town Monday night and both went back to Ada with another loss on their record.
The SOSU ladies (13-4, 3-0) controlled most of the game and won going away, 64-54.
The house was packed, (2,312 in attendance) for the men's game and the noise seemed to lift the Bloomer Sullivan roof at times as SOSU (15-2, 3-0) won the game, 74-60 and sent their arch rivals home with a bitter defeat. The chant by the students at the end of the game was “just like football” referring to the 42-6 thrashing the Storm handed the Tigers the last game of the football season.
The first half of the game was mostly nip and tuck, back and forth, with neither team getting much of an advantage until the Storm opened up a 25-20 lead with about five minutes left in the half. The SOSU ladies also scored the final five points of the half to take a 35-27 lead going into intermission.
Staci Willis scored eight points in the first half to lead the Storm. Lora Loy and Roni Morrow once again got into foul trouble and missed much of the first half.
But, as if on cue, Loy hit a 3-pointer for the Storm's first points in the second half.
“I was pleased with Loy's shooting in the second half,” said Southeastern coach Darin Grover.
There was a point in the second half when the momentum was beginning to shift to East Central when Staci Willis took over and scored on a lay up and then hit a 3-pointer about a minute later to regain the momentum back to the Storm.
“Staci (Willis) really stepped up tonight,” said Grover. Trista (Schomo) also did a lot of things that are not in the stat sheet. She is becoming a vital part of the team.”
East Central won the rebounding part of the game, 44-35, but SOSU outshot their opponents from the field, 40.4 percent to 32.2.
Willis led the Storm in scoring with 13 points followed by Ashley Tucker with 10 points and seven rebounds. Loy scored nine points and Felicia Mitchell scored seven. Cassie Watson hit two big 3-pointers in the game.
“It was a good win,” said Grover. “Our defensive scheme worked on them. I was surprised at beating their press so easily. On film, their press was effective. They killed us on the boards. We did not play well in that part of the game.”
You would think you would be in trouble if two of your top three scorers were held to a total of 20 points below their scoring average. Eric Babers was double teamed the entire game and took only three shots from the field as he scored only four points, and Matt White scored only nine points.
But this version of the Storm has multiple scoring weapons. Jason Stampley scored 28 points in the game and Steve Harrel went 4-for-9 from beyond the arc and scored 15 points to lead the Storm to a 74-60, hard-fought victory over East Central.
“We knew they would double Babers,” said SOSU coach Tony Robinson. “They have doubled him every game we have played. Somebody else had to step up. (Stampley) really shot the ball well and played well. I was especially proud of Harrel. It was his man that they used to double Babers. Harrel hit the shots and made the passes to make them pay for doubling Babers.”
SOSU never trailed in the opening period and opened their biggest lead of eight points at the end of the first half as Stampley hit two free throws with 42 seconds left to make the score 38-30. Stampley had 17 points at the end of the first half.
East Central scoring leader, Jason Thomas, put on a personal 10-5 run in the second half and East Central held a slim 51-48 lead with about 10 minutes left in the game.
But, the Storm came back with their own 9-0 run with Stampley scoring five of those to regain the lead which they would never surrender the rest of the game.
The Storm scored the final six points to win the game, 74-60, with their largest lead of the night.
The Storm used at least four defenders on Thomas who scored 21 points in the game, but shot only 4 of 15 from 3-point range. Thomas is averaging 21.6 points per game.
“Rambo (Kyric) did a great job on Thomas,” said Robinson.
Both Ryan Woolsey and Rambo each scored nine points. Babers pulled down 12 rebounds and had two blocks for the game.
“Ryan Woolsey played great,” said Robinson. “Ev-eryone who played did a very good job.”
The crowd was really into the contest the entire game. The students played a big part of the game as even the national anthem was sung to perfection by SOSU freshman tennis player, Lance Davis.
“It was a tremendous crowd,” said Robinson. “I was proud of them and very appreciative of the student support. The team appreciated their support.”