COLUMBUS- It was déjà vu times fifty for the Oak Hill Junior High Raiders as the final seconds rolled off the clock at Immanuel Christian School. The Raiders had the upper-hand and were leading their opponent. The game might not have been the prettiest of the fifty consecutive wins, but the Raiders did it, defeating Immanuel 45-38.
“We expected it to be competitive, we only beat them [Immanuel] by four at our place,” commented head coach Brian Middleton about the win over Immanuel, “I think we were anxious about the fiftieth win in a row and I just keep telling them to just ‘play to win’ and not to ‘play not to lose.’”
Winning streaks are hard to come by for anybody on any level and to create a winning streak with such longevity is a special accomplishment within itself. Similar to some famous Mississippi winning streaks like the 89 consecutive wins by the South Panola Tigers in football or the 85 game win streak for Leake Academy in fast-pitch softball, these young Raiders will be placed amongst an elite club for their great effort and achievements.
It has been over two seasons since Oak Hill has dropped a junior high game and it has not been an easy road to travel for the Raiders. The classes of 2015 and 2016 have done a lot of heavy lifting against opponents such as Marshall Academy, Leake Academy, Indianola Academy and Starkville Academy, just to name a few. Yet many of the games were over before halftime proving the absolute dominance in which the Raiders have played in the past couple of junior high seasons.
“My sophomores from last year played a major role in this,” commented Coach Middleton about the promise the fifty game winning streak holds for Oak Hill basketball, “We have come a long way, and hopefully this group takes the big step to make us more competitive on the high school level.”
In the game against Immanuel Tuesday night, the Raiders were led by Chance Wilson with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Also putting in great games were Ken Dill scoring 11 points and Kaleb Darnell with 8 points on the night.
In continuing such a long streak, coach Middleton points to the key in his junior high team’s success which is the trust the boys have in each other to be successful. “A lot of unselfishness and a lot of respect for each other knowing that everybody can make the big play,” said Middleton after the victory. This characteristic of trust could carry Oak Hill further as a basketball program and possibly create a deep run in the MAIS postseason in the coming years.
The Oak Hill Junior High Raiders are currently 22-0 on the season and will hope to continue the streak Friday night against Canton Academy at home.