Shaver, Dunn start fast in opening win for Oak Mountain

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

NORTH SHELBY – After a fast start from Brady Dunn and Will Shaver, the Oak Mountain Eagles withstood a late charge from the Wenonah Dragons on Wednesday, Nov. 11, to open the 2020-2021 basketball season with a win.

Coming off a Final Four appearance to end the previous season, the Eagles were confident entering the season. Despite losing Player of the Year Zane Nelson, they returned the majority of their talent. But in the opener, they were without two of their normal starters in Evan Smith and Noah Young, who were sitting out as members of the football team still competing in the playoffs.

But Brady Dunn made their absence not seem like a big deal early in the game.

Thanks to Dunn, the Eagles soared out of the gate as he drained five 3-pointers in the opening period on a perfect 5-5 from beyond the arc.

His 15 points doubled up Wenonah when the Eagles led 20-8. In addition to his strong play, 6-foot-11 junior Will Shaver also got off to an impressive start with a tomahawk put back dunk and strong post play.

Those two played a big role in 22 first-quarter points for Oak Mountain, who took a 22-10 lead into the second quarter.

And Dunn wasn’t done. He added another 3-pointer early in the second quarter to make it 6-6 with 18 points, which went on to equal the total output from the Dragons in the first half.

Dunn didn’t make another one in the first half, but Shaver had two more dunks, including an alley-oop, which helped Oak Mountain extend its lead to 15 points at the break, 33-18.

Coming out of the break, Wenonah made a few defensive adjustments, specifically around the perimeter, which limited Oak Mountain on the offensive end of the floor.

Shaver still threw down two dunks, including one that saw him spin through traffic for a two-handed slam, while Collin Patrick added four points in the quarter.

And while the offense didn’t have its strongest quarter, scoring 11 points, the Eagles continued to play impressive defense, which kept the Dragons from fighting back.

The Eagles limited them to 10 points in the period, which gave Oak Mountain a 44-28 lead going to the fourth.

Wenonah put together a push to start the final quarter thanks to a quick 12-4 run, which cut the deficit down to as little as eight points at 48-40 after a big 3-pointer.

But just as he had done all night, Shaver came up big on the other end, fighting through contact for a layup to extend it back to a 10-point lead.

That was part of an 11-2 run to close out the game over the final two minutes of play to complete the 61-42 win.

Shaver finished the night with 23 points to lead all scorers, while also having a strong night on the boards. He finished 9-12 from the free throw line. Dunn added 18 points, all of which came in the first half, including his 15-point opening quarter.

As a team, seven total players scored, while Colin Patrick and Ryan Giegel each added seven points. The Eagles were also 12-18 from the free throw line.