The Oak Hill Lady Raiders started their regular season off on the right foot with a win over Lamar School in their home debut. Coach Stan Hughey’s senior-laden squad took a 3-2 lead with Rachel Herndon’s first three-pointer of the night and never looked back, holding the lead for the remainder of the contest.
Herndon, the sharp-shooting senior forward, buried three consecutive three-pointers to provide an offensive spark for the team, leading the team with 21 points. It appeared as if the Lady Raiders would run away with this game, but Lamar’s Olivia Mabry kept her team in the game, scoring 9 of Lamar’s 18 points in the first quarter. At the end of the first, the score was tight with only a 4 point lead for the Lady Raiders at 22-18.
In the second quarter, senior wing Shay Atkins,who finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds on the night, pushed the tempo and created easy transition buckets for her teammates, keeping Lamar out of their comfort zone by forcing them to play at a faster pace as opposed to running half court sets. The Lady Raiders also locked down on Mabry, who managed only six points in the second quarter as Oak Hill pushed the lead out 41-28.
The second half of the ballgame did not duplicate the offensive fireworks that the Raiders displayed in the first two quarters. The speed of the game slowed significantly between the two halves due to fouls and turnovers. The Lady Raiders, who only had seven turnovers at the half, committed six in the third quarter alone. However, these mistakes provided no spark for Lamar as they outscored Oak Hill 11-9 in a very slow-paced quarter of play to bring the score to 50-39.
After a somewhat sluggish performance thus far, Lamar suddenly came alive in the final period of play. Olivia Mabry sparked a 7-2 run in the first two and a half minutes of the fourth quarter. The margin at this point was only six points. Rachel Herndon answered the call by burying a clutch three-pointer. Lamar responded with a layup to bring the score margin back down to seven.
Points were coming at a premium by this point. Anna Ready and Shay Atkins stretched the lead out to 11 with driving layups within a span of two minutes. Mabry responded yet again with a bucket of her own to cut the deficit to single digits with 2:22 remaining. By then, however, the veteran Lady Raiders were able to cut down on their mistakes and force their opponent to foul. Maegen Ellis sank four consecutive free-throws to put the game away. Ellis finished with 8 points. Seniors Anna Ready and Lauren Billington racked up nine and four points, respectively. Sophomore Kelci Jo Langford finished with four points off the bench, while junior Bet Langley finished with 1 point.
Up next for the Oak Hill is Kirk Academy from Grenada on Thursday with junior high action beginning at 4 p.m.