Oak Hill head coach Brian Middleton preached all night every chance he could to his players to believe in themselves. They did.
The Raiders trailed by nine heading into the fourth quarter Tuesday night, and exploded for 18 points in the final eight minutes to pull off the victory, 45-41.
âIt was a big win, a big rivalry winâŠ it was awesome,â Middleton said. âWe pushed each other and finally we got over that hump.â
Oak Hill (2-2) was behind early in the ball game, down by half a dozen after one before struggling to score in the second. They scored five points in the last minute of the half, capped off by an AJ Jones buzzer beater to get the home crowd excited.
âWe didnât shoot good all night, but we found a way to win,â Middleton said. âWe kept pounding it inside, blocked out and defended well late.
It was just an unbelievable effort by these guys.â
Middleton looked up at the clock and he saw his Raiders down 39-35 with 3:30 left to play and he thought to himself, âone more stop and we got thisâ. The teams swapped possessions and leads before the Raiders closed out the game from the line.
John Wesley Williamson finished with a team-high 11 points followed by Jones with 10. Reid Posey knocked down eight, six off of the bench in the fourth quarter. Jeb Stevens contributed with seven.
âIt was a complete team effort,â said Middleton. âIt was everybody one through 12. Our students were awesome. It was just a good atmosphere to play basketball tonight.â
Girls Oak Hill 43-18 Heritage
The Lady Raiders earned their first win over a Class AAA team this
season, 43-18 at home versus regional rival Heritage.
It was the fifth straight victory for the girls this season, since their opening loss to Jackson Academy.
The Lady Pats, fresh off their first loss of the season to Kemper Academy, were held to just three points in the opening period, before Oak Hill went on a 9-0 run in the second quarter to stretch their lead to 10 before heading into the locker room leading by a dozen.
âI thought Heritage came out and really moved the ball well and had a lot of movement in their offense,â head coach Stan Hughey said. âThey were getting some good shots. I think without having those two on the floor, we were just able to wear them down before the half.â The Lady Patriots didnât have Rachel Hollivay and Ashley Washington dressed.
Oak Hill didnât let up the scoring in the third quarter, 13 in a row before Heritage finally found the basket with 1:29 to play.
Although the Lady Raiders gave up six points total in the second half, Hughey believes there is still some work to be done in practice.
âWeâre not doing some things fundamentally sound,â he said. âWe need to do a better job of not losing sight of the ball is a big thing. We just have a lot of work left to do. Some of our breakdowns on defense were just from a lack of focus.â
Huguey said he was happy with the win over their rivals, but it would have been sweeter with their best players on the floor.
âItâs like playing team thatâs really strong and then play a team thatâs not as competitive, the big wins mean a little more.â
The two teams meet again in Columbus in roughly two weeks.
Tori Ellis finished with a team-high 16 points and seven rebounds. Rachel Herndon and Shay Atkins each knocked six and grabbed six rebounds. Maegen Ells chipped in five points.
Oak Hillâs JV girls moved to 3-3 on the season after a tough 39-30 win. Down by five at the half, the girls outscored Heritage 28-14 in the second half to earn the victory.
Sarah Dill scored a team-high 22 points, 20 of which were in the second half. Alice Wooten scored six points and grabbed a team-high 12 boards.
Oak Hill returns to action Thursday for the first of back-to-back home games against Carroll and North Delta.View more articles in: