Aaron Colen, Sports Editor, Aaron.Colen@chickashanews.com
E.J. Golightly was struggling Friday night against Shawnee.
It was his last time to play a game on his home floor, and he could not get it going for the first three quarters.
The senior guard went 2 for his first 11 field goal attempts, and Chickasha was down eight points with just five minutes left in the game.
Shawnee called a timeout with four minutes left and a six point lead, and after that Golightly went on a run that would spark his team to a win.
Golightly scored the next 10 points for Chickasha, with the last field goal of that streak giving the Chicks a 46-44 lead.
Shawnee tied the game on the next possession. Golightly turned the ball over, but Chickasha got it back on a turnover. Golightly led the fast break and threw an assist to Montana Stonecalf for a layup and a foul, which gave the Chicks the lead for good on the way to a 54-48 win.
"E.J. went down and got some buckets and took the game over like he did against Anadarko, and like he's done about eight or nine times," head coach Bryan Merritt said. "I told him after the game, I said 'Man, you've got to quit waiting that long. He was not very aggressive the whole night until the last four minutes."
Golightly finished with 22 points, 11 in the fourth quarter.
Chickasha got balanced scoring throughout the first three quarters of the game, allowing them to stay close through Golightly's struggles.
Joey Sylvester scored 10 points, Dakota Goombi scored nine points, and Datious Dufur scored eight points.
"All the guys played really good, stayed with it," Merritt said. "That's a game, that one and a couple of other ones this year, that we wouldn't have won last year. Our seniors, when something isn't going right, they don't put their heads down."
Chickasha has had success in close games this season, and have often been able to pull out games that are close late, said Merritt.
"It's a fun team to coach," Merritt said. "It's not an easy team to coach, because it's a grind every night. You get gray hairs quick, because we never blow anybody out. Every game is tight. But they do a really good job of staying with it, and hopefully we keep doing that in the playoffs."
The Chickasha boys begin the 5A playoffs Friday, making the three-hour trip to Coweta to play Tahlequah in the first round of the regional playoffs at 6:30 p.m.