Oak Mountain upsets No. 2 Hoover in area opener

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

HOOVER – It was a picturesque start to area play for the Oak Mountain Eagles on Tuesday, Jan. 7, when they hit the road to take on No. 2 Hoover following wins in six of their last seven games.

While the Eagles only had five players score in the game, four of those five scored in double figures, including a double-double performance from Will Shaver, to help lift them to an upset of the No. 2 Buccaneers by a final score of 63-50.

That win gave Oak Mountain (13-7, 1-0) its fourth victory in a row, while also putting the Eagles ahead of the curve in area play with a 1-0 start and a win against the favorite to win the area coming into the season.

Oak Mountain started strong in the opening quarter behind each of the five scorers putting up points with Zane Nelson posting three and Evan Smith, Noah Young, Wilder Evers and Shaver posting two apiece.

That led to 11 combined points, while the defense limited Hoover to just two scorers and 10 combined points, which gave the Eagles an 11-10 advantage at the end of the opening quarter.

That was the beginning of a strong defensive three quarters for Oak Mountain, who didn’t give up more than 11 points in any of the first three periods of the matchup.

In the second quarter, the Eagles added 13 more points behind five each from Young and Shaver, while the defense had its best period of the game, allowing just nine points to put them in front 24-19 at the halftime break.

Knowing how well the defense was playing, the Eagles and head coach Chris Love knew they needed to take advantage more on the offensive end of the floor, which led to adjustments at the halftime break.

Those adjustments paid off in the third quarter with Oak Mountain’s best offensive period of the game.

Nelson went 5-6 from the free throw line with a 3-pointer for eight points in the quarter, while Smith knocked down three field goals in the period. Those two combined for 14 of the Eagles’ 20 points in the quarter, while the defense again held the Bucs to just 11 points.

That strong period for Oak Mountain allowed them to take a 44-30 advantage into the final quarter.

Noticeably missing in the third quarter, however, was Shaver. He wasn’t as involved as he was in the first two periods.

That changed quickly in the final quarter. Oak Mountain went to him and went to him often to put the game away in the post in the final eight minutes.

He went on to make four field goals, including two and-1 conversions, for 10 points in the period, while Smith added four more points, Nelson three more points and Young two more points for 19 final-quarter points.

While Hoover posted its best offensive quarter of the game with 20 points, the 14-point deficit was too much of a hole to dig out of, as the Eagles pulled off the 63-50 victory.

The Eagles were led by Shaver with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Nelson added a 15 point, seven rebound performance. Coming off a school record 13 assists in his last game, Smith added six assists with 14 points in this one. Young also contributed strongly with 11 points and eight rebounds.