In a gritty, defensive road battle, Brian Middleton’s young squad showed their toughness to answer the call of fierce rival Heritage Academy in a 44-34 rematch win. The Raiders overcame poor shooting and the Patriot’s physicality on defense and responded by punching them right back in the mouth by turning the second half into a free-thow fest.
The first half was far from pretty for both teams. Neither team could break away from one another in a lethargic 6-4 first quarter in favor of Heritage. The second quarter was no different as the margin remained tight between both teams, with the Patriots leading 14-13 at the break. The Raiders simply could find no rhythm. Sophomore Drake Riley kept them alive with seven points and seven rebounds in the first half of play. However, Oak Hill only shot one free throw in the first half.
Going into the second half, the Raiders knew they had to respond to the physical style of play by being aggressive and drawing fouls; they did just that. In the second half alone, Oak Hill shot 17 freebies and converted 10 of them. As the game remained tight in the end, the Raiders were not afraid to get scrappy as players dove for every loose ball and fought for every board. While Oak Hill had far from their best night offensively, they got the win to advance to 5-1, which, in the end, is all that really matters.
John Wesley Williamson paced Oak Hill with 15 points. Riley Pierce added nine points to go along with three assists. Drake Riley finished with seven points and grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds. J.J. Bridges scored six more for Oak Hillin addition to an impressive four steals. Drew Riley buried a three pointer to get on the board. Jeb Stevens, who made his debut in his return from an injury, and Jacob Dickens scored a basket each.