Boys Basketball Opens With Win Over Wabash

Posted on November 24, 2016 in Boy's Basketball, Winter Sports

WABASH – While some folks might see the Oak Hill boys’ basketball team already in midseason form, coach Kevin Renbarger and the players know better.
The Class 2A fourth-ranked Golden Eagles certainly passed the eye test to the casual observer Wednesday evening in dismantling host Wabash 82-48 behind balanced scoring and dominant rebounding. Yet, Renbarger saw plenty of room for improvement following the season-opening game.
“We got a long way to go to becoming a good basketball team,” Renbarger said. “We got a lot of our shots off of individual ability, and we’re a long way away on the defensive end. Wabash missed a lot of layups early that would have made it more interesting game.”
Oak Hill jumped ahead 9-0 and never trailed, and a much smaller Wabash team just couldn’t keep pace. The Apaches didn’t help themselves after missing six layups in the opening quarter, and after closing to within 18-10, the Eagles pulled back out to a 23-10 lead at the break on Spencer Ballinger’s half-court 3-pointer at the buzzer.
The Eagles’ Fantastic Four each had their moments. David Arens fueled the offense in the opening half with 3-of-4 shooting from 3-point range and scored 12 points as the Eagles opened a 41-21 halftime lead. Caleb Middlesworth had his way inside early and collected nine points and 10 rebounds by intermission and finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
After a very quiet first half, Tyce Frank exploded in the third quarter with 15 points on 4-of-4 shooting including two 3-pointers and 5-of-6 free throws. Ballinger finished with 11 points and five assists, and sophomore Konnor Cabe contributed eight points and eight rebounds in his first varsity start.
“It was a good place to start,” Middlesworth said. “We were running some stuff from the last couple years while trying to get Tyce involved, and we’re starting to work as a team a bit.
“We have the luxury of having multiple scorers on the team, and we can get the ball to anybody at any given time,” he added.
Frank, who had played for homeschool teams, showed glimpses of his potential in the third quarter to help stake the Eagles to a 61-38 lead at the break. Once acclimated to his new team, Renbarger said Frank can take the Eagles’ offense to an entirely different level.
“In the third quarter we were more crisp, and Tyce had a nice third quarter and we played better defense,” Renbarger said. “Tyce is going to become a scoring threat for us, and when he does his assist numbers will go through the roof. He’s got great vision on the court and an ability to think quickly.”
Frank ended the third quarter with the Eagles’ second buzzer-beating 3-pointer, and the Eagles were scintillating from behind the arc with 10-of-15 shooting. Arens was 3-for-4 all in the first half; Konnor Cabe made both his attempts, while Renn Martin and Landry Ozmun came off the bench and knocked down 3-pointers.
Led by the 6-foot-8 Middlesworth, who was four inches taller than any Wabash player, the Eagles had a commanding 41-24 rebounding advantage.
“We are working on offense and defense and the press,” Middlesworth said. “We just have a lot of little things to put together right now.”
Luke Mattern, a 5-11 junior guard, got on a hot streak from behind the 3-point arc in the third quarter, draining three straight, and he finished with 16 points to lead the Apaches. Austin Vinopal, a 6-foot post player, battled with much taller Oak Hill players throughout and collected 12 points almost entirely on putbacks and five rebounds.
Wabash defeated Oak Hill 47-41 in the junior varsity game behind 14 points from Devin Higdon and 11 points from Dereck Vogel. Ozmun led the Eagles with 10 points and Bradey Evans had nine points.
Oak Hill hosts Manchester Saturday in a boys’ and girls’ doubleheader. The girls’ game begins at 6 p.m. and the boys follow at around 8 p.m.

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