Boys Basketball Can’t Overcome Slow Start Vs. Peru

Posted on January 13, 2020 in Boy's Basketball, Winter Sports

Trent Scott – Peru Tribune

PERU – Nearing the end of its seven-game boys’ basketball road trip, Oak Hill ventured north to the Tig-Arena to face red-hot Peru.

The Tigers exploded out of the gates early, leading by as many as 14 points, before the Golden Eagles rallied to tie the game, only for a seven-point swing at the end of the second quarter and a five-point third quarter to nix any chance of getting back in the win column in a 60-50 loss Friday night.

Oak Hill head coach Kevin Renbarger said the offensive lulls were a problem that the team was struggling to figure out how to remedy, adding the hosts put their stamp on the game without any resistance early on.

“We’ve really struggled to score over the long haul,” Renbarger said. “Putting the ball in the basket has been a problem.

“The start of the game, the intensity, the physicality and the aggressiveness Peru came out with, we were unwilling to match it; that set the tone for the rest of the game,” he added. “We were in a position to come back but the tone set at Peru’s pace and leisure set the tone for the night.”

Peru started off the game with a 12-2 run and extended its lead to 17-4 forcing a timeout from Renbarger, who said he didn’t mince words in the huddle.

“It was a good ol’ fashion coach’s refocusing session,” Renbarger said. “That’s all that it was; it was a man-card check. Peru came out and shot well in the first quarter but we didn’t show up. You have a choice there: you’re either going to get completely annihilated and blown out of the gym or you can man up and try to chip away.”

The Tigers’ largest in the first half was at 20-6 before Clay McCorkle hit a three which helped Oak Hill close within 22-11 entering the second quarter.

Tahj Johnson scored the last basket of the period for Oak Hill and the visitors made it seven-straight points after a McCorkle basket and a Kody Dubois three, trimming the gap to 22-16.

Matt Ross got the hosts on the board in the second quarter but another Dubois three and two Johnson free throws made it a 24-20 game.

Tristen Hayes brought the Golden Eagles to within a basket at 24-22 midway through the period and the game was tied at 26-26 off a McCorkle basket.

A tenuous situation was broken when Kade Townsend hit a three and was fouled after the shot, converting a four-point play and following it up with a second three to give Peru a 33-26 lead.

Hayes hit a free throw the Tigers took a six-point lead into halftime.

“Give our kids credit as they played exceptionally well in the second quarter,” Renbarger said. “We just have to figure out what it was about the second quarter, bottle it and continue it.”

Neither squad shot out quickly to start the second half as Daunte Majors and Johnson traded baskets in the first few minutes.

Oak Hill’s offense could not find the rhythm it had in the second quarter and eventually the Tigers took full control of the tempo as Majors and Matthew Ross notched baskets to reestablish a double-digit lead at 39-29 and the hosts would eventually lead 46-32 heading into the fourth quarter.

“That’s what I’m talking about in regards to tone,” Renbarger said about the sluggish third quarter. “We had one nice quarter but we didn’t reach Peru’s level in regards to competing the rest of the night.”

Peru’s lead would be as large as 15 in the final quarter as Oak Hill tried to find a route back into the game.

Ryan Pederson got the lead into single digits with a jumper midway through the period and Johnson brought the visitors as close as seven points in the closing minutes but the Tigers were in their element late on, connecting on 10-of-14 free throws in the final quarter, to pick up their eighth-straight win.

Majors led all scorers with 21 points, including 8-of-11 shooting at the free throw line, while Michael Chandler added 12 points and Kade Townsend pitched in 11 points. Collectively the hosts were 22-of-29 at the free throw line.

Johnson led the Golden Eagles with 14 points while Dubois added 13 points in first back-to-back losses of the season for the team.

Oak Hill, dropped to 5-5 and completes its seven-game road swing Saturday night at Eastern, a new addition to Class 3A Sectional No. 23, starting at 6 p.m. with Renbarger stating something had to change not just on the floor but before the game ever began.

“We’re going to find out,” Renbarger said on how the team would bounce back Saturday. “The issues we need to solve are in the locker room and in the coach’s office.

“A loss like this tonight, where you’re really not good in any phase of the game, falls on the coaching staff. Everything that we do from the time we get off the bus to the time we get back on the bus, we have to get it figured out. Whatever we’re trying to communicate to the kids isn’t getting across.”

Leave a Comment