Oak Mountain falls to Wenonah in OT of Chick-fil-a Classic at BJCC

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

BIRMINGHAM – Despite a strong comeback that featured Oak Mountain taking its first lead of the game on the first possession of overtime, the Eagles were unable to fully come from behind to take down Wenonah in the Chick-fil-a Classic at the BJCC on Tuesday, Dec. 17.

Oak Mountain was only able to tie the game three different times throughout, but was resilient during the game, despite trailing by as many as eight points on a couple of different occasions.

The Eagles fought through the deficits and came back to take a 54-53 lead early in overtime, but couldn’t overcome a strong end to the game from the Dragons that saw them close on a 11-2 run to pick up a 64-56 win.

In the opening quarter of the game, the two teams came out and made it known they weren’t afraid to let the ball fly. Wenonah started the game with back-to-back 3-pointers from Jayden Sanders to take a quick 6-0 lead.

Oak Mountain answered back with a 3-pointer from Zane Nelson and an and-1 from Evan Smith to make it 10-6, before another jumper cut the deficit to two points.

But in what became a first half of runs, the Dragons answered back with another 3-pointer from Sanders, which started an 8-2 run and gave them an 18-10 advantage.

Nelson, however, hit a big 3-pointer late in the quarter to cut it to five points at the end of the period—one of many big deep balls for the senior.

To start the second quarter, the sharp shooting continued for both sides. Evan Smith got the basket for two quick layups for the Eagles, while Wilder Evers and Wenonah traded 3-pointers to make it 24-20 early in the quarter.

To that point in the game there had been nine combined 3-pointers, six of which were knocked down by Wenonah.

From that point to the end of the quarter, however, the Dragons continued to shoot well, while the Eagles couldn’t find the bottom of the net. That led to an 8-2 run for Wenonah to close out the half, which gave the Dragons a 32-24 lead at the half.

At the break, Oak Mountain needed to make defensive adjustments to get back in the game and hope the offense found its rhythm again, and that’s exactly what happened for the Eagles.

Evers came out and knocked down a 3-pointer immediately to bring OMHS within seven points at 32-25.

That sparked an 11-3 run to start the quarter, as Nelson hit two big 3-pointer, including the game-tying one, while Noah Young and Will Shaver both hit baskets as well.

That tied the game at 35-35 for the first time since the score was 0-0, but Wenonah didn’t relinquish the lead, as the Dragons ended the quarter on a 3-0 run to take a 38-35 advantage into the fourth quarter.

While Wenonah extended the lead to 40-35 with the first basket of the fourth, eventually falling behind 42-37, the Eagles battled back with a 5-0 run to tie the game again at 42-42 with a jumper from Evers, a layup from Young off great ball movement, a layup from Shaver and another game-tying jumper from Nelson.

The Dragons, however, had another big answer, and this one looked like it was going to end the game. They went on an 8-0 run to take a 50-42 lead with just 2:05 left in the game after a big 3-pointer.

But Nelson hit another big 3-pointer for the Eagles, before Shaver came up big down the stretch. Shaver knocked down two free throws and two layups over the final two minutes to bring Oak Mountain within two points at 51-53 with less than 30 seconds to play.

Then, after a turnover, Evan Smith was able to get the ball right back for Oak Mountain and earn a 1-and-1 opportunity. Smith stepped up and calmly sank both free throws to tie the game at 53-53.

After a missed shot in the final seconds from Wenonah, the two teams went into overtime.

Oddly enough, in the overtime period, Oak Mountain took its first lead of the game when Evers made one of two free throws on the first possession of the period to put the Eagles in front 54-53.

But that was the only point of the quarter from Oak Mountain until the final 10 seconds.

Wenonah went on to finish off overtime on an 11-2 run to close out the victory.