Boys Basketball Comes From 20 Down To Beat Knights

Posted on January 9, 2019 in Boy's Basketball, Winter Sports

BY JACOB RUDE – sports@wabashplaindealer.com
WABASH – Much of the fanfare that surround recent meetings between Oak Hill and Southwood was not present on Tuesday night. Neither the Eagles nor the Knights were ranked. Neither team even entered the contest with a winning record.

What hadn’t changed was the level of emotion in the rivalry.

That level of emotion and pride is what propelled the Eagles to rally in the second half from a 20-point deficit to win in overtime at Southwood, 57-55.

“It’s a big win,” Oak Hill head coach Kevin Renbarger said. “This team is trying to learn a lot of different things, learning how to win as opposed to how to keep from losing a basketball game. But to be put in a position where you’re down 20 against a team that can really score the basketball in a myriad of different ways, for us to come back on their home floor and bring it all the way back in a tight situation and make those winning basketball plays, it speaks volumes for where we’ve come in the last month-and-a-half. We’re getting to the point where we can at least compete come sectional time.”

The same level of intensity and emotion is what let Southwood come flying out of the gates and build a 32-14 halftime lead. A basket from Dallas Holmes to open the third pushed the lead to 34-14. But Holmes would soon head to the bench with four fouls and Oak Hill’s rally started.

The Eagles trimmed the lead down to 42-34 by the end of the third.

Holmes’ return in the fourth helped stymy the Eagle rally as the Knights steadied the ship to hold onto a multi-possession game. But Holmes would foul out early in the frame and the Eagles’ rally continued as Oak Hill took the lead on a Tristen Hayes layup with 1:54 left.

Jackson Simons would tie the game at 48-48 with 43 seconds left but the Knights would commit a foul, sending Landry Ozmun to the line. The senior, having already missed a front end of a one-and-one one possession prior, missed again. This time, though, Tahj Johnson collected the board and scored the putback to give Oak Hill a 50-48 lead with 34 seconds remaining.

At the other end, Southwood’s Braden Barney nearly one-upped the Eagles, converting a basket through a foul for a potential three-point play. Barney’s free throw would miss and both sides would squander chances to win the game, sending the contest to overtime.

Without Holmes, the Knight offense continued to sputter. Lloyd’s three-pointer to put the Knights up 53-52 was the only basket Southwood mustered save for a Barney layup as time expired. The Eagles took the lead with 22 seconds left on a three-pointer from Kody Dubois, then sealed the win with a free throw from Konnor Cabe to earn the win.

“It kind of came down to Dallas Holmes,” Southwood head coach John Burrus said. “You saw how important he is to our team. It’s one of those things that, when you look at this game, we could sustain effort and deal with (him fouling out) for a few minutes…but we played probably 12 minutes of that second half without Dallas Holmes.

“You have to understand that when Dallas Holmes is out there, we’re a little bit different team. He changes the complexion of what we do on offense and, honestly, on defense. Dallas can make up for a lot of things that guards do out front with his length.”

Oak Hill’s rally was only necessary after an abysmal first half from the visitors. The Eagles finished with 22 turnovers to just 14 points. The second quarter, though, was the worse of the opening two frames. Hayes would notch a layup to cut the Southwood lead down to 13-11 but Oak Hill managed just one more basket the rest of the way.

Southwood, meanwhile, piled on offensive, using a 19-3 run after the opening basket to build a commanding 34-12 lead. Holmes’ fingerprint was all over the first half as the senior finished with 13 points in the opening two periods.

“Oak Hill couldn’t have played any worse than they did in the second quarter so you know those kids are on the road, it’s a Tuesday night, they’re probably going to get going a little bit and they did,” Burrus said. “I thought their guards started to make enough plays…and then Cabe is the guy, when he came back in, he made some plays. They had some guys make plays and they kept coming but…I was really proud of how our kids hung in there tonight.”

The halftime talk from Renbarger was nothing special other than to cut down on the turnovers.

“Get out of your own way,” he said of his message to the team in the locker room. “We had 22 first-half turnovers. Twenty-two possessions where we didn’t score. We felt like if we could trim that number down, and obviously we did, and string some shots together, it might give us an opportunity to get back in the game.”

Hayes powered the Eagles to the win with a breakout game, pouring in 12 points with six of those coming in a stretch between the third and fourth quarter that helped cut a 12-point deficit down to just four.

“Tristen, we’ve been waiting for him to emerge,” Renbarger said. “As a sophomore playing varsity for the first time, it’s been a slow, ardurous process. But he really steppe dup tonight in the absence of a lot of people, particularly in the first half. He’s kind of what kept us in the game. And then in the third quarter when our leading scorer goes out, we were able to get the ball inside to him and let him go to work and finish. We’re really proud of both him and Konnor and of what we were able to get going inside.”

Holmes finished with 15 points to lead the Knights but had just two points after the halftime break. Simons and Gabe Lloyd each chipped in 11.

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