Boys’ Basketball Falls Short Vs. Alexandria

Posted on January 25, 2014 in Boy's Basketball, Winter Sports

By Chuck Landis clandis@chronicle-tribune.com

Oak Hill dropped to 3-9, 0-4 CIC, and Alexandria coached by former Indiana Wesleyan University standout Kyle Bloom improved to 5-8, 2-2.

The Eagles were nursing a 42-41 lead when Thurston got around their defense and scored on Braden Warren’s inbounds pass. It was his only basket of the game.

“We had showed that inbounds play the whole game but struggled,” said Bloom, in his first year at Alexandria. “Jake made a great read and Braden Warren made a nice pass, and it was fun to see them rewarded for his effort.”

Eagles coach Kevin Renbarger said their mistake was losing sight of Thurston underneath the basket.

“We got lost and we were trying not to switch and get through (the screens) and we just didn’t do a good enough job of getting through,” Renbarger said.

“That was a common inbounds play that we have gone through in practice every day,” he added. “We just didn’t get through and defend the basket.”

Oak Hill had two chances to regain the lead after Thurston’s basket. A bad pass with 35 seconds to play gave the ball back to Alexandria, but Eagles guard Korbin Cruea then stole the ball at midcourt.

After having the ball stripped away, Alexandria guard Layton Carroll immediately fouled Cruea and prevent a breakaway layup. But Cruea missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw with 15 seconds to play.

The Tigers’ Drew Johnson was immediately fouled, and he converted the 1-and-1 between an Oak Hill timeout, and the Eagles needed a 3-point basket to tie the game.

Gerritt Taylor, who had made a critical 3-pointer earlier in the quarter, was well short on a shot behind the arc, and the Tigers’ Blaize Kelly closed out the game with a pair of free throws.

“We had our opportunities and had the basketball with the lead and turned it over,” Renbarger said. “Give Alexandria credit; they made one additional play that we didn’t.”

Alexandria’s biggest lead had been 41-37 after reserve Kolby Haas knocked down the Tigers’ ninth 3-point basket of the game. Taylor then came through with his 3-pointer, and a Jon Mauk layup after a Reese Metzger pass put the Eagles ahead 42-41 at the two-minute mark.

“Oak Hill had us on the ropes the whole game,” Bloom said. “Any team could have won. We just made a play late.”

Mauk, who leads Oak Hill in scoring, finished with 12 points but most of the first half in foul trouble, and eventually collected his fifth personal in the final minute. Even without him, the Eagles remained close and tied it 19-all at halftime.

Taylor led the Eagles with 13 points, and David Horner collected a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“We are just having too many long stretches without good offensive possessions in close games,” Renbarger said.

Starting center Caleb Maggard did not play and Renbarger would not comment on the reason. Metzger made his first varsity start in Maggard’s place and scored six points.

Johnson led Alexandria with 14 points, followed by Carroll with 12 points and Kelly with 11 points.

Oak Hill held on to win the junior varsity game 33-29 behind Isaac Beaty with nine points and Adam McDivitt with six points. Alexandria’s JV was coached by Patrick Hopkins, a former Indiana Wesleyan standout center and 2013 NAIA all-American.

The Eagles play Friday at Madison-Grant.

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