The Lady Raiders have been absolutely dominant this season and it is only the end of December. Once again Oak Hill put on commanding performances at the Immanuel Christmas Tournament as the Lady Raiders defeated both of their opponents and very easily to say the least.
This well-oiled machine which is Lady Raider basketball is led by their strong-willed head coach, Stan Hughey, playing hard every single minute of the game. After defeating Winona Christian Friday night soundly and a landslide victory Thursday over MHSAA-member East Webster, Coach Hughey still believes his Lady Raiders have not yet peaked though tallying an early 16-3 record before the start of the new year.
“We showed some signs of doing some things better tonight, our defense was better, ” commented Coach Hughey following the 62-23 victory over East Webster, “I was really pleased with today, East Webster has good tradition, it is a game we wanted to play well, and our girls played well.”
Not only has the guidance of coach Hughey led to success, Oak Hill is an experienced ball club with four Seniors (Lauren Billington, Rachel Herndon, Anna Ready, and Shay Atkins) and many players that have played valuable varsity minutes prior to this 2012-2013 season. Four Lady Raiders are currently averaging between 8 to 10 points a game and all have played a very strong brand of basketball in the months of November and December. It is a case of balance for the Lady Raiders as every single varsity player has contributed a great amount of hard work to the winning ways of Oak Hill.
“We have a lot of balance, it is not just a one man show,” said Hughey about what his girls have done so far this season, “Herndon is a great shooter and so is Ready; Maegan [Ellis] is a great point guard she is like a magician; Atkins is so good defensively and so is Billington.”
Many of the wins for the Lady Raiders have come against difficult opponents such as North Delta, Indianola Academy, and Heritage Academy. Coach Hughey also has picked up his four hundredth win early in November which is a very monumental career achievement for any ball coach. Yet Hughey is very humble about his achievement and is seeking something a little more golden. Coach Hughey and his Lady Raiders want to win the MAIS overall tournament in February, a first Gold Ball trophy for the Oak Hill program.
Defeating schools such as North Delta and Indianola early in the year builds confidence for the Lady Raiders as these teams will stand in front of Oak Hill’s post-season success. Another team that Coach Hughey wants to find a victory against, and has not this season, is perennial power Leake Academy. The Lady Rebels of Leake Academy put one on the nose of the Lady Raiders 60-39 back on December 14.
“We have a long way now; they [Leake] really put it on us down there,” said Coach Hughey about the challenge of beating a strong Leake Academy which is in the same district as Oak Hill.
Though the Lady Raiders failed to defeat Leake in Madden, Oak Hill has many positives to take away from the first half of the season. In a district home game, Oak Hill held Manchester Academy to only seven points for the whole game, defeating the Lady Mavericks 52-7. The Lady Raiders have played well on defense, especially collectively as a team. Also Oak Hill has a pair of sharp-shooters in Herndon and Ready lighting up the scoreboard from all over the floor.
All these positives will lead to a possible deep run during the February post-season when every team will want to be playing their best basketball. Coach Hughey and his Lady Raiders will know what it takes to break through AA competition and make it into the MAIS all-around tournament. Keep the Lady Raiders of Oak Hill on your radar as the season progresses toward the final games. “You don’t want to be playing your best ball until February,” commented Coach Hughey in closing, “I have learned to take games one at a time, and I am really pleased right now where we are at.”