Hoover uses strong 4th quarter to down Oak Mountain

Published 7:11 pm Wednesday, January 9, 2019

By SETH HAGAN | For the Reporter 

NORTH SHELBY – The Oak Mountain Eagles put a scare in the No. 3 ranked Hoover Buccaneers Tuesday, Jan. 8, to start area play and led nearly the entire way until a monster fourth quarter gave the Bucs a 64-52 road win in a hostile environment.

Oak Mountain (13-7, 0-1) began the game as well as they could’ve hoped as their man defense kept Hoover isolated on the perimeter. The Eagles found their range as well, as back-to-back 3-pointers from Zane Nelson and Drew Dunn gave them a 14-2 lead over the stunned Buccaneers.

Two threes from Colby Carter kept Hoover within earshot, but the Eagles still led comfortably after the first quarter, 17-8. Hoover got its rhythm back at the free throw line and shot extremely well from there all night, hitting all five of their attempts in the second quarter.

Oak Mountain continued to score, but the Bucs seemingly matched them shot for shot—a trend that continued into the second half.

The Eagles got into the bonus early on in the period, but were unable to take advantage missing their only 1-and-1 opportunity and getting just two free throws in a double bonus scenario late in the half. At halftime, OM took a 30-23 lead into the locker room.

Both teams came out looking sharp in the third quarter, but Hoover still managed to whittle away at the Eagles’ lead. The Bucs hit two three pointers while Oak Mountain suddenly went cold from outside.

CJ Melton did most of his damage for Hoover in the second and third quarters scoring 14 of his 16 points in that time. However, at the end of three, the Eagles still clung to a 42-37 lead.

Hoover’s offense, despite a lack of turnovers, had been bogged down for much of the game, but that changed drastically in the game’s final stages.

Ahman Ellington and Alex Price keyed the turnaround and flipped a seven-point deficit into an eight-point lead scoring the Bucs’ first 20 points in the quarter.

At one point during the run Price hit on three consecutive triples as Oak Mountain was helpless to stop the unconscious shooters.

The Bucs also continued a lights out road performance at the charity stripe. Both teams wound up in the bonus, but it would be Hoover who would separate themselves in this area hitting 10 of their final 11 freebies to finish the game an incredible 17 of 18.

They didn’t miss a single attempt until there were seconds left on the clock and the game well in hand.

Evan Smith and Zane Nelson were the only Eagles to land in double digits finishing with 12 and 11 points respectively. Ellington finished with a game-high 18 points for Hoover.

Oak Mountain will look to get in the win column in Area 5 when they visit Tuscaloosa County this Friday, Jan 11 at 7 p.m.