Oak Mountain downs rival Chelsea for 18th win
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
CHELSEA – Having won 11 of their last 13 games, with the two losses in that span coming by three points, the Oak Mountain Eagles continued their strong play in a 46-37 rivalry win against the Chelsea Hornets on Tuesday, Jan. 28.
Despite being down two starters due to the flu, the Eagles were able to pick up their 18th win of the season behind strong defense in the first three quarters and a 15-point night from Wilder Evers, including four 3-pointers.
Defensively, Oak Mountain held Chelsea to nine points or less in each of the first three periods, and it started in the opening quarter of the game, which was a quiet one offensively.
With two head coaches that know each other’s philosophy extremely well, finding baskets was difficult.
Chelsea struck first on a 3-pointer to grab the early lead, but Evers struck with back-to-back 3-pointers that put Oak Mountain in front 6-5. The Eagles eventually pulled in front 8-5, but Chelsea pulled it back to within one at 8-7 going to the second quarter.
Oak Mountain, however, was able to create some more separation in the second quarter thanks to a quick 5-0 run that put the Eagles in front 13-7.
Chelsea came back to cut the deficit to two points at 13-11 after a Jacob Tierney 3-pointer, but the Eagles answered with a 9-3 run to end the quarter, including an offensive put back and a dunk from Will Shaver, which allowed Oak Mountain to take a 22-14 lead at the half.
Entering the second half, Chelsea looked like a different team in the first few minutes of the third quarter when several different players combined to help spark a 9-4 run for the Hornets.
In all, five different players combined for those nine points, which helped trim Oak Mountain’s lead to three points at 26-23 following a Jordan Thomas 3-pointer.
The Eagles, however, locked down for the rest of the period defensively, while Evers hit a free throw and Brady Dunn hit a 3-pointer late in the frame to help Oak Mountain shift the momentum back in its favor heading to the fourth with a 30-23 advantage.
In the final quarter, it looked like all was lost in the first minute for Chelsea after Evers came out and picked up a steal that led to a layup and then hit a 3-pointer to quickly put Oak Mountain on top by 12 points.
After a quick timeout, however, Chelsea answered back with a big 3-pointer from Andrew Messier that brought the Hornets back to within nine points.
The lead hung around that mark for the next couple of minutes until Chelsea cut it to seven after a field goal, but that ended up being as close as the Hornets could get the rest of the way.
Oak Mountain quickly extended the lead back to 11 points with baskets from Shaver and Colin Patrick. From there, the Eagles went on to ice the final 1:30 of the game at the free throw line to close out the victory.
In addition to Evers, Will Shaver and Noah Young both added eight for Oak Mountain in the win.
Chelsea was led by Tierney with 10 points.