Oak Mountain run ends with loss to Homewood in sub-regional

An exciting end to the second quarter had an enthusiastic crowd inside a packed gym rocking during the Oak Mountain High School boys’ basketball team’s Class 6A sub-regional meeting with Homewood in the Alabama High School Athletic Association playoffs Feb. 13.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, the momentum quickly swung to the visiting Patriots soon after the break. Homewood broke open a four-point game at halftime by outscoring the Eagles 21-6 during the crucial third quarter. A 19-15 Patriots’ lead turned into a 40-21 lead and Homewood never looked back in a 53-33 win at Oak Mountain.

“We were right there at halftime,” said first-year Oak Mountain coach Chris Love. “We had a really bad third quarter. We turned it over on our first possession and it was all downhill from there.”

Senior forward Cary Baxter led the Eagles (20-8) with 14 points. Chris Pegg added 12 points. Jake DeLaney, who hit a 3-pointer with 21 seconds remaining in the game for his first field goal of the year, was the Eagles’ third-leading scorer with three points.

The Eagles jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Homewood responded with a 11-2 run to take a 11-6 lead. Baxter cut the margin to 11-9 at the end of the first quarter with a basket and a free throw.

Homewood extended its lead to 19-13 late in the second quarter before Oak Mountain senior guard Drew Rosenberg raced down the court for a buzzer-beating basket to cut the lead to four points, which excited the home crowd.

The Patriots took the crowd out of the game in the third quarter, as they hit four 3-pointers during the quarter to extend a four-point lead to a 19-point lead. Homewood led by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter.

Love said the Eagles knew they would have a difficult time matching up with the Patriots.

“They’re very talented,” Love said. “We knew they were a very good team and we would have to play well.”

Despite the loss, Love said he was pleased with Oak Mountain’s accomplishments in his first season, which includes a Class 6A, Area 10 tournament championship.

“I don’t think anybody thought we would be here,” Love said. “It’s a great testament to these kids. They’ve worked extremely hard. It’s tough to end the season with a loss, but it’s been a heck of a year.”