By Andrew Glover
RED ROCK, Okla. —
The Frontier Mustangs were huge underdogs against the Class 2A No. 6 Pawnee Black Bears. In the first half, Frontier played competitively, but Pawnee ultimately proved to be too much in a 72-40 loss Monday.
“I don’t think we believe we can beat them,” Frontier coach Bob Weckstein said. “We get in a situation where we need some key stops and we don’t bow our necks and get after it.”
Pawnee coach David Page said he wanted to give his starters some playing time and didn’t pressure right away.
“We haven’t had a lot of games where we’ve gotten to play two and a half quarters,” Page said. “I decided not to press to give our kids some playing time. That helped us and the kids finished strong.”
The Black Bears (13-1) jumped out to an early lead but Frontier was able to keep it within reach as it trailed 20-14 after the first quarter.
Gideon Gardner provided the scoring spark for Pawnee with 17 points in the first half and finished the game with 27.
“Gideon has made himself a very good scorer,” Page said.
Pawnee padded its lead in the second quarter, outscoring Frontier 13-6 to lead 33-20 at halftime. The Black Bears maintained a double-digit advantage the whole second half.
In the second half, the Mustangs couldn’t handle the Black Bears’ pressure — allowing several transition layups. Pawnee outscored Frontier 39-20 in the second half — including 26-8 in the fourth quarter. Both teams emptied their benchs in the fourth quarter.
Also contributing to the Black Bears’ scoring was starting point guard Nathan Brock, who had 15 points but assisted on several other buckets.
“He does a really good job of distributing to other people, scoring and etc.,” Page said. “He probably had eight to ten assists tonight.”
Jaysen Ratliff and Justin Collins led the Mustangs in scoring with eight points each. Frontier lost its sixth game in a row.
Both Pawnee and Frontier will compete in the Tonkawa North Country Tournament in Tonkawa. Pawnee opens with Blackwell at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Northern Oklahoma College. The Mustangs open with Mannford at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
FRONTIER 60, PAWNEE 27
The Class A No. 2 Frontier Lady Mustangs pride themselves on pressuring the ball. Monday night against Pawnee, that pressure forced several turnovers and allowed the Lady Mustangs to pull out early in a 60-27 victory.
“The girls played really well and with a lot of energy,” Frontier coach Bob Weckstein said. “I was really pleased with how the girls played in the first half.”
Pawnee (8-6) struggled to get the ball across half court as Frontier’s pressure caused several turnovers. The Lady Mustangs took advantage and jumped out to an 11-2 lead.
Instead of the Lady Mustangs’ offense coming its post Marissa Goodman, it was Frontier’s outside shooting that moved the scoreboard. Michaelanne Nelson and Kristan Molina each hit two 3-pointers to put the Lady Mustangs up 21-6 after one.
Nelson added to her scoring total in the second with two more 3-pointers, increasing Frontier’s lead to 27-6. The Lady Mustangs led by at least 20 the rest of the game.
“We came out and didn’t play with very much energy and enthusiasm,” Pawnee coach Chad Tsotigh said. “Shots weren’t falling. Same thing happened when we played them at our place.”
Nelson finished the game with five 3-pointers for 15 points. Molina hit two more 3-pointers in the third quarter and finished with 15 points.
Natalie Jensen led the Lady Black Bears in scoring with eight and didn’t score her first points until the end of the first half.
The Lady Mustangs (15-3) open the NOC Tournament with Guymon at 4 p.m. at Tonkawa High School. The Lady Black Bears open with Mannford at 4 p.m. at NOC.