Oak Mountain sweeps foes in Invitational

Oak Mountain High School junior forward Julia Ferguson (15) passes the ball to junior guard Hannah Griffin before making a move toward the basket in the Eagles' 56-32 win over John Carroll Catholic during the Oak Mountain Invitational round-robin tournament Nov. 11. (Reporter Photo/Wesley Hallman)

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY — Oak Mountain High School girls’ basketball coach Donald Clayton had a few new faces in his lineup as the Eagles opened the season with a round-robin Oak Mountain Invitational tournament.

Senior Lay Watts wasn’t one of them.

Clayton knows what to expect from Watts, who played a key role in the Eagles’ 20-win season a year ago. Clayton got a glimpse of even better things to come from Watts in the first three games of the 2010-2011 season.

Watts averaged better than 18 points and 10 rebounds per game in Oak Mountain’s season-opening tournament.

“With it being her second year with us,” Clayton said, “she’s a little more comfortable this year.”

The Eagles defeated Briarwood Christian 41-27 in the final game of the tournament Nov. 11 to start the season with three consecutive victories.

Oak Mountain outscored the Lions 26-12 in the second half after the two teams battled to a 15-15 tie at halftime.

Watts led the Eagles (3-0) with 14 points and 11 rebounds in the win over the Lions.

Junior forward Julia Ferguson added 10 points and eight boards.

“Julia was a difference maker on the defensive end and with her rebounding on the offensive end,” Clayton said.

Watts led the Eagles with 27 points and 10 rebounds in a 54-28 win over Pleasant Grove in the season opener Nov. 10. Ferguson added eight points.

Watts and Ferguson scored 16 points each as Oak Mountain defeated John Carroll Catholic, 56-32, in the afternoon session Nov. 11. Mackenzie Garmany added six points.

Clayton said Watts, who can play forward and also bring the ball up the floor, will be a go-to player for the Eagles in her senior season.

“She’s trying to take on a leadership role,” Clayton said. “She’s in a better place with a year in the system.”

Briarwood Christian School senior forward Anna Handlin drives down the lane in the Lions' 54-26 win over Pleasant Grove during the Oak Mountain Invitational round-robin tournament Nov. 11. (Reporter Photo/Wesley Hallman)

Briarwood Christian defeated John Carroll 57-26 in the Lions’ season opener Nov. 10.

Botes led the Lions (2-1) with 10 points in the victory. Handlin, Medders, Miles, Samantha Swords and Hannah Wainwright added six points each.

“It was your typical first game for both teams,” said Briarwood coach Jim Brown.

Handlin led Briarwood with 18 points in a 54-26 win over Pleasant Grove in the afternoon session Nov. 11.

Handlin scored 10 consecutive points for the Lions during a stretch in the third quarter.

Medders added 10 points. Miles and Botes added six points each.