Fourth-quarter run pushes Oak Mountain to area win

Published 7:38 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2019

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – Coming into their matchup with the Tuscaloosa County Wildcats at home on Tuesday, Jan. 22, the Oak Mountain girls basketball team was looking to end a losing skid while enacting some redemption as well.

On their trip to Tuscaloosa County on Jan. 11, the Eagles lost a 42-39 heartbreaker, which was part of a four-game losing streak. But this time around, thanks to a strong fourth-quarter push, Oak Mountain was able to get redemption with a 55-48 victory. 

The Eagles were 0-4 coming into the game, meaning this was their first area victory of the season and it came in large part to a 12-0 run in 2:20 of the fourth quarter.

After Tuscaloosa County had answered every Oak Mountain (12-11, 1-4) run in the first three quarters, the Eagles found themselves down 45-39 early in the final quarter, but after a fast-paced third quarter featuring a lot of points, you could still see a sense of confidence in their ability to score.

Once the Eagles saw that first basket fall in the final frame, they were off and soaring.

Thanks to two 3-pointers, six straight points from Kailey Rory, two offensive put backs from Hanna Edwards and great play on the defensive end of the floor, including several blocks from Edwards, the Eagles stormed in front 53-45 and were able to hang on over the final 2:20 to pick up the win.

Through the first three quarters, it was tough for Oak Mountain to sustain any of its scoring spurts, but in the opening quarter of the game, the Eagles showed a competitive edge on both ends of the floor thanks to Kailey Rory, Clara Fuller and Hannah Edwards combining for 11 points on the offensive end of the floor.

For the most part, the Eagles showed that same competitive spirit on the defensive end as well limiting Tuscaloosa County to just two scorers, but both of those scorers had strong quarters and each hit a 3-pointer.

Alexz Yarbrough posted seven points, while Mackinly Atwood posted five points to give the Wildcats a slim 12-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter. 

In the second quarter, it looked as if Oak Mountain had upped its game with seven quick points to eventually take an 18-14 advantage.

Tuscaloosa County, however, turned up the pressure the rest of the quarter and held the Eagles scoreless over the final 3:30 of the period, while the Wildcats scored eight points of their own to take the lead back at 22-18 heading into the halftime break.

With the first basket of the third quarter, it looked as if that run to end the first half was going to continue for the Wildcats thanks to a quick basket that extended the lead, but Oak Mountain had an answer.

The Eagles were able to go on a quick 8-0 run thanks to baskets from Rory, Edwards, Abi Brown and Emily Cruce, which eventually gave them a 27-24 lead midway through the period.

Like the second quarter, however, the Wildcats were able to bounce back with a run of their own thanks to sharp shooting from beyond the arc.

Tuscaloosa County hit three consecutive 3-pointers in a row and ended the period with four total to eventually take the lead back at 38-35 heading to the final quarter of play.

Early in the final quarter, Oak Mountain pulled back to within a point twice, but the Wildcats eventually extended the lead to six points quickly after with a 5-0 run.

That’s when the Eagles finally started clicking offensively and answered with an 8-0 run in 50 seconds before eventually extending that run to 12-0 to claim the win.

Rory ended up leading Oak Mountain with 18 points, while Edwards was just behind with 16 points. Abi Brown and Emily Cruce also hit some big baskets in the final quarter and were responsible for eight points apiece.