Oak Mountain makes semis of metro tournament

Published 9:56 am Friday, December 28, 2018

By SETH HAGAN | For the Reporter

HOMEWOOD – The Oak Mountain Eagles skipped the Christmas break hangover and came out blazing to open up the Metro Tournament with a rematch against the Pelham Panthers on Thursday, Dec 27.

Four players scored nine points or more for the Eagles as they slowly built a massive lead through three quarters and cruised through the remainder of the game on their way to a 67-46 victory to advance to the semifinals of the tournament.

Oak Mountain (12-5) kept the Panthers out of rhythm to start the game as the first four minutes went by without a basket from Pelham.

The Eagles got scores from all five of their starters, the most exciting of which was a tomahawk jam from Antheny Carey to put Oak Mountain up 6-0.

The Panthers eventually got going, but were down 16-8 at the end of the first quarter. Carey went on to score six of his 10 points in the first half.

“I’m just so proud of him,” head coach Chris Love said with a smile. “He was a kid who was on our JV last year as a junior and actually sat out his sophomore year. He’s improved so much so it’s nice to see him have an effect on the game and he’s been doing that for us for the last several weeks.”

The Eagles’ lead grew incrementally from there, never making a big run but seemingly scoring two baskets for every one the Panthers could muster.

Evan Smith scored all six of his points in the second quarter as Oak Mountain doubled Pelham’s point total three different times in the period and took a 35-19 lead into halftime.

Chris Brown scored all 11 of Pelham’s points in the second quarter to contribute to his 20-point night to lead all scorers. The third quarter took on much of the same look as the first half as Oak Mountain turned up the defensive pressure again forcing seven turnovers.

The Eagles got in the passing lanes and turned several steals into quick points on the other end. Zane Nelson had his best quarter scoring eight of his team-high 19, including two of his three from long range.

OMHS went on to knock down nine total 3-pointers in the game.

At the end of three quarters the Eagles had built a 54-28 lead and quickly scored the first two baskets of the fourth to go up 30 to set off the running clock.

Pelham had their best offensive quarter of the game, but it was too little too late as the Panthers couldn’t get an closer than 19 the rest of the way.

“We consider this the second season right now as we start getting into area play here in the next few weeks,” Love said. “So we challenged them in everything that we do to step it up another notch. I think these kids are excited about who we are as a team and what we can do as a team.”

Oak Mountain will advance to play the winner of Hartselle in the winner’s bracket Friday, Dec 28 at 6 p.m. while Pelham (8-6) will play Mortimer Jordan Friday at 3 p.m.