Oak Mountain takes Calera in tournament opener
By TREY HICKMAN/For the Reporter
PELHAM — Courtney Evans and crew seized control in the second quarter and never loosened their grip on the reins as the Oak Mountain varsity boys toppled visiting Calera 65-52 in the opening round of the Shelby County Boys Basketball Tournament in Pelham on Dec. 19.
Oak Mountain jumped out to a lead before Chasen Baker’s five points commanded an 8-0 Calera run for the remainder of the first quarter as the visitors entered the second period up by a point. It was during that tide-turning second set that Evans boldly announced his presence.
The senior pumped in nine of his game-high 21 points during the period as Oak Mountain took over the contest and headed into halftime up 30-22.
“Courtney Evans had a big game for us and he’s really picked his game up,” said Oak Mountain head coach Chris Love. “We need him to continue to do that. That’s huge for us.”
Despite the third-quarter effort of Calera’s Keddrick Thomas, Oak Mountain maintained its hold on the matchup, doubling its lead going into the final period. Calera won the scoring battle 20-17 during the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late as Oak Mountain improved to 7-6 on the season.
“I thought offensively we executed pretty well for the most part,” Love said. “We had a little lull there in the fourth quarter. We didn’t do a very good job executing (in the fourth quarter), but (overall) we executed pretty well offensively. (Overall) we shot the ball pretty well offensively.”
Credit should be given where it’s due, though the complexion of the contest could have been quite different had standout 6-foot-4 forward Jordan Bishop — who missed the game due to illness — been in Calera’s lineup.
“That (being without Bishop) was huge for (Calera),” said Love. “He’s a big player for them. (He) does a great job in the post and we were really concerned about defending him in the post and certainly that was to our advantage in him not playing.”
Evans powered Oak Mountain with 21 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Pierce Clarke’s eight points and six assists. Louis Shader added 10 points and seven rebounds while Christopher Lamb logged nine points and five rebounds.
For Calera, Chasen Baker pumped in 14 points, Ronnie Clark had 10 points and five rebounds, and Drew Marling recorded seven points and six rebounds. Henry Davis and Keddrick Thomas collected nine and eight points, respectively, as Calera fell to 4-3 on the year.