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Oak Hill Raiders one win away from state tourney

February 12, 2013

Head coach Brian Middleton and his group of young men set out on two goals at the beginning of the season; win twenty or more games and secondly to make the AA State Tournament.
Tonight, the Raiders will take on Central Hinds Academy in the second round of the AA North State tournament at Leake Academy in a game that could clinch a berth into the AA State Tournament and their twentieth win.
Oak Hill’s season has been rather successful with the Raiders currently holding a 19-13 record on the season. Even coming through a difficult district, the Raiders were able to go 6-4 in district picking up a third seed to go into the district 2-AA tournament.
Without a first round bye, Oak Hill took on Winston Academy to start their postseason play. After the 32 minutes of play, the Raiders were victorious and moving on to the next round, defeating the Patriots 71-50.
The semi-finals brought Oak Hill a really difficult test as the Cougars of Canton Academy had defeated the hard-wood Raiders in the two district contests. The Raiders played a spectacular first quarter and got ahead of Canton 15-8. Canton though seemed to weather the storm and in the second quarter went on a huge 22-5 run to take a 30-20 lead into halftime. Even shooting 46 percent from the floor, Oak Hill seemed not able to out mustard Canton on the night, falling 63-52.
After the Friday night loss to Canton, the Raiders found themselves heading into the consolation match-up with Manchester Academy Saturday. Oak Hill responded after Coach Middleton challenged his boys to better themselves during the game against the Mavericks. The Raiders played well and took a 36-24 lead into halftime. John Wesley Williamson and Riley Pierce were huge during the contest against Manchester contributing 16 and 20 points respectively. Also coming through with a big impact for Oak Hill was freshman Drake Riley, pulling down 16 rebounds in the game. With these efforts combined, the Raiders grabbed the third-seed out of district 2-AA with a 62-41 win.
On Monday the Raiders entered into the AA North State Tournament taking on North Delta School. Oak Hill had played the Green Wave twice during the regular season, splitting the series. Coach Middleton wanted this game against North Delta and his players proved they were up for the challenge in the opening round. The Raiders were able to go on to the next round with a 53-38 win and took one step closer to accomplishing their two goals for the season.
Oak Hill has played three basketball games in the past five days and has won two of them. Middleton and his Raiders look prime to keep their state tournament dreams alive tonight. The Raiders will tip off against Central Hinds tonight at 7:45 on the campus of Leake Academy.

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