The Oak Hill Academy Raiders kept their streak alive in convincing fashion Tuesday night with a 67-43 blowout win over regional rival Heritage Academy. The Raiders jumped out to an early lead to take a 19-7 lead and would never look back. J.J. Bridges, who finished with 31 points on the night, scored 11 in the first quarter alone. Oak Hill put emphasis on getting to the foul line early and often. Seniors John Wesley Williamson and Jacob Dickens, who finished with 20 and 10 points, respectively, were a combined 18-26 from the charity stripe. The Raider’s aggressiveness put Heritage’s key players Kade Lott and Hudson Bean in early foul trouble, preventing them from playing significant minutes. The Raiders went into the locker room at the half with 36-20 lead.
The story of the night was Oak Hill’s tenacious defense. The deep and talented squad used their athleticism and speed to make sure nothing came easy for the Patriots. While the tempo of the game was slow and methodical for most of the night, the Raiders locked down in half court defense and forced Heritage to take tough shots. On offense, the Patriots were plagued by mismatches with the size, quickness, and perimeter ability of Oak Hill’s big men. J.J. Bridges and John Wesley Williamson continued to wear down Heritage’s defense by driving and finishing or drawing a foul. The Patriots had no answer for Bridges’ hot hand or the physicality and depth of the team as a whole. The young Raiders were also solid in maintaining possession of the ball, finishing the game with only eight turnovers.
Coach Brian Middleton had his team fired up for this rivalry game. After the game, Middleton had this to say: “This was by far our best effort of the year. We played with intensity tonight. Offensively, we were solid, and we cut down on our turnovers significantly. The little things that we did were key to the win. Getting them in foul trouble and keeping them there was important. This was a good win. We are getting better and will continue to do so. I’m happy to be 3-0.”
Drew Riley finished with three points on the night, and Riley Pierce and Drake Riley poured in two points each to round out the scoring. In junior varsity action, the boys won 57-35. Chance Wilson and Caleb Roberson led the Junior Raiders in scoring with 15 and 14 points a piece.