Oak Mountain wins Jeff Dennis Invitational, moves to 5-0

Published 9:02 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2018

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

KIMBERLY – A strong start to the 2018-19 season for the Oak Mountain Eagles got even stronger on Tuesday, Nov. 20, when they completed a three-game sweep of the Jeff Dennis Jewelers Invitational at Mortimer Jordan High School with a championship win against county foe Pelham.

The Eagles (5-0) hit 10 3-pointers in the 59-44 win and also had three scorers in double figures to lead a dominant effort from early on.

The early part of the first quarter featured a back-and-forth affair between the two rivals with Oak Mountain striking first on a 3-pointer from Stone Evers, before Pelham (2-2) answered with a 7-2 run to take a 7-5 lead after Jacob Shumate hit a 3-pointer.

Antheny Carey, however, got the Eagles going with a steal and a dunk on the other end, which sparked a quick 6-0 run for his team and gave Oak Mountain the lead back at 11-7—a lead the Eagles didn’t relinquish the rest of the game.

Chris Brown picked up from his strong semifinal performance by answering the run with an offensive board and put back that cut the lead to two points, but Evers came right back with another 3-pointer.

The Panthers scored once more on a Brown layup, but Oak Mountain ended the quarter with all of the momentum after falling behind 7-5, using a 12-4 run the rest of the way to take a 17-11 lead into the second period.

Pelham stepped up defensively early in the second period, but so did the Eagles as both teams went scoreless for the first two minutes of the frame.

Oak Mountain eventually ended that cold stretch by continuing its run with the first three points of the quarter to take a 20-14 advantage.

Then, once Pelham started to hit shots, it seemed as if the Eagles had an answer from beyond the arc every time. First, Drew Dunn answered a Kendan Maddox and-1 with a 3-pointer, followed by one 3-pointer from Will Shaver and back-to-back from Dunn and Turner Youngblood.

After all of that was said and done, Oak Mountain held a 33-20 lead heading into the halftime break. The Eagles hit four 3-pointers in the second quarter alone and six total in the first half, while Pelham hit just one, which became a key difference in the game.

That hot shooting for the Eagles continued early in the third as Dunn hit a jumper quickly followed by yet another 3-pointer from Evers that put Oak Mountain on top by 16 points at 38-22.

Pelham went on a short run to cut it back to 11 points, but Dunn hit another 3-pointer followed by a reverse layup from Shaver.

The Panthers ended the third quarter with two consecutive layups from Floyd and Brown to give them a slight hope heading to the final period, but they still trailed by 12 points at 43-31.

Pelham did what it could with the added momentum, however, and continued that run into the fourth quarter scoring the first four points of the period to make the run 8-0 and cut the deficit to eight points.

That’s when the Eagles picked the offense back up, and this time they didn’t let off the throttle.

As Oak Mountain had done throughout the game, Dunn answered the Panthers’ run with another 3-pointer to halt Pelham’s momentum. That was part of an 8-2 run that put the Eagles in front 52-37.

The Panthers never got any closer than 12 points the rest of the way, as Zane Nelson hit a 3-pointer shortly after, followed by a dunk from Shaver to put an emphatic final basket on the board in the 59-44 win.

Oak Mountain had seven players score in the game, including three in double figures led by Dunn with 17 points in large part to four 3-pointers. Behind him, Youngblood and Evers added 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Pelham was led by 14 points from both Brown and Floyd in the loss.