Oak Mountain wins third game in a row over top-10 team
By SETH HAGAN | Special to the Reporter
ALABASTER – The Oak Mountain Eagles are officially on fire. Chris Love’s squad, previously unranked in the ASWA polls, has now reeled off three straight wins over ranked opponents all within the Eagles’ division.
After defeating No. 8 Tuscaloosa County and No. 5 Hoover, Oak Mountain presented its strongest case yet by going on the road and besting the No. 3 Thompson Warriors to take sole ownership of the area’s top spot with a 60-52 win.
Thompson (17-7, 2-1) came out strong and grabbed an 8-2 lead, but the Eagles countered with an 8-2 run of their own. Will Shaver and Zane Nelson kept the Eagles within reach, while Chaney Johnson—who scored the Warriors’ first five points—dealt with foul trouble the entire night.
Oak Mountain (15-7, 3-0) began to assert control in the second quarter with great defense, grabbing several steals to interrupt the Warriors’ offensive rhythm.
The Eagles built a 24-16 lead, but quickly saw that unravel as Thompson grabbed the reins defensively. Thompson went on a 9-0 run to end the half and take a slim 25-24 lead into the half as bench players like Tyrek Howard, J.B. Mitchell and Steven Walker all made big plays before halftime.
The Eagles, undeterred by the Warriors’ run, quickly retook the lead in the third as Nelson and Noah Young each hit big shots from the outside and got to the free throw line.
However, Thompson continued to push with big contributions from the bench and a big three from Jack Dorolek to grab a 39-38 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Thompson had been pressing full court after made baskets and Oak Mountain finally broke it when the Eagles needed to the most. The Warriors trapped aggressively time and time again only to see the Eagles find open guys, including Will Shaver for several dunks.
Shaver scored 10 points in the final quarter, as the Thompson defensive rotations often found him only after it was too late.
Thompson’s Grant Hopkins, like Johnson, also dealt with foul trouble throughout with Johnson finally fouling out with just less than five minutes to play.
Oak Mountain was able to take control from there and bled the clock despite a strong push from Thompson at home.
The Warriors also only hit three baskets from beyond the arc, well below their season average.
Oak Mountain was led by Nelson with 17 points in the win, while Young added 16. Shaver also finished in double figures with 11 points in the post.
The Warriors will look to bounce back this Friday, Jan 17 as they meet Tuscaloosa County on the road for an area game that tips at 7:30 p.m. Oak Mountain will take on Hoover at home on the 17th with their game also beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com.