OAK HILL – The unusually warm weather for the middle of December did not bring warm responses from fans attending the Oak Hill Oaks and Northwest Mohawks game, Friday evening. The game didn’t have many awe inspiring moments, rather it resembled more of a struggle for both teams. Even though both teams struggled, the Oaks managed to control the entirety of their game with the Mohawks.
A total of 55 points were shared in the varsity contest between Oak Hill and Northwest, in which the Oaks gained a 36-19 victory.
Northwest coach Jerry Barlow had a game plan for his young team, mainly made up of freshmen and sophomores, and one that arguably, was successful for his team.
“I knew coming in that we really needed to control the tempo of the game,” Barlow said. “We scouted them (Oak Hill), and they want to get the ball up and down the floor, and shoot a lot of threes.”
For the most part, the Mohawks controlled the tempo of the game, especially in the first half. Northwest was not afraid to hold onto the ball and run the called play. They passed multiple times, sometimes so much the Mohawk fans in attendance became vocally upset at the lack of shots taken.
Although they were able to slow the game speed down, which did cause several issues with some trigger-happy Oaks, the Mohawks weren’t able to control other aspects of the game, including, defense, minimizing turnovers, and taking shots.
Immediately after the tipoff, Oak Hill tried to speed the game up. They were quick to get the ball to their end of the court, and picked up a sudden three pointer by sophomore, Landon Carroll. The game looked like it would be fast paced, until the Mohawks took possession.
Just over halfway through the first quarter, the score was only 3-2 in favor of the Oaks. Northwest, trailing by a single point was very patient with the ball. They didn’t rush shots, and were not afraid to move the ball around, looking for an open shot.
Open shots didn’t come easy for the Mohawks though, as the Oaks defense was quick and tight, which stifled several Northwest shot attempts.
Oak Hill went on a quick run late in the first quarter, increasing their lead over Northwest 9-2 with only 1:52 remaining, but it would be nearly four minutes worth of game time, until either team would put the ball in the net again.
Darian Logan forced up a shot to give the Mohawks their first points of the second quarter, about two minutes into play.
The Oaks would go on to add to their lead, scoring six more points before Dustin Taylor found the basket to breathe a little life into the Mohawk cause, with only a few seconds remaining in the half.
Mitchell Hale would almost immediately knocked the breath out of the little momentum the Mohawks had acquired, as he drained a three at the buzzer to give Oak Hill an 18-6 lead at halftime.
Barlow said he and his team were pretty disappointed with the first half of the ball game.
“We gave up that three there right at the end, and went down 12 (points),” Barlow said. “It was pretty disappointing, but being down 12 at the half in basketball is not the most difficult thing to come back from in the world.”
The next few minutes in the game would be critical for the Mohawks, and Barlow told his team the importance of those minutes.
“We came out, but they got two or three hoops there right in a row, extending their lead, and we just never really got back into it,” Barlow said. “Oak Hill is a good basketball team, and obviously they’re very well coached. They’re super disciplined on the offensive end, and I just thought we did a lot of things to shoot ourselves in the foot.”
The Oaks continued their roll on offense, throughout the second half, effectively killing any hope for a Northwest win. At one point in the game, the Oaks went up by 20 points, 34-14, with five minutes remaining in the game.
Northwest would limit Oak Hill to two points for the remainder of the game.
By the final buzzer, the Oaks had defeated the Mohawks 36-19.
There were some positives for the Mohawks Friday night. Barlow said his team’s half court defense was probably the best it has been in the very young, four game season thus far.
“We just need to continue to work hard in practice, and I want them to keep a positive attitude,” Barlow said. “The good thing about basketball is we have plenty of opportunities in a season.”
The Oaks will face the Waverly Tigers Friday night in Oak Hill. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Northwest will host Minford Friday evening in another SOC II matchup. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Oak Hill – N. Carroll 6-2-15, L. Carroll 3-0-8, Fleming 3-0-6, Hale 1-0-3, Kallner 1-0-2, Swann 1-0-2
Northwest – Taylor 5-0-12, Logan 2-0-4, Smith 1-0-3
3-point field goals – Oak Hill 4, (L. Carroll 2, N. Carroll, Swann) Northwest 3 (Taylor 2, Smith)
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931 or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.