Oak Mountain fends off Pelham in county battle

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

PELHAM – Thanks to a strong second quarter, the Oak Mountain girls basketball team was able to create enough separation from the Pelham Panthers on Wednesday, Dec. 9, to fend off a comeback and pick up a tight 45-41 road victory.

Pelham scored 20 points in the final quarter to roar back from what was a 13-point deficit at one point, but Oak Mountain had an answer throughout the night and that was no different down the stretch.

In the opening quarter, both teams showed promise with the Eagles knocking down four field goals, including a 3-pointer, while the Panthers put through three field goals and went 2-2 from the free throw line.

But the 3-pointer gave Oak Mountain the early advantage with a 9-8 lead at the end of one and it’s one that held steady throughout the game.

In the second quarter, the Eagles not only continued to knock down shots, but the defense made adjustments quickly and put together its best quarter of the game.

They allowed just two field goals, while the Panthers added a 2-4 mark at the free throw line for six points in the period. Oak Mountain, however, hit two more 3-pointers and five total field goals in the half for 13 points to extend its lead to 22-14 going into the half.

Coming out of the break, Pelham knew it had to find some success on the offensive end of the floor and quickly to keep the game from getting out of reach.

The Panthers did just that by starting the quarter on a 7-4 run to cut the deficit to five points at 26-21, but Oak Mountain had a big 3-pointer from Abby Gordon right after to quickly send the game back to an eight-point difference in favor of the Eagles

Pelham went on to have several empty possessions with four consecutive free throws missed, missed shots and turnovers down the stretch, which led to Oak Mountain extending the lead to 32-21 heading to the final quarter.

On the first possession of the fourth quarter, the Eagles added a quick basket to make it a 13-point lead, the largest of the game.

But that’s when Pelham’s comeback started.

The Panthers cut it down to eight quickly, but a 3-pointer from Oak Mountain put the Eagles back in front by 11 with 4:30 to play.

Pelham went on to trail by 10 at 41-31 with close to 3:30 to play, but the Panthers battled back with several steals over the final few minutes.

That led to some easy layups from Myriah Tate, Savannah Scarbrough, Emma McKenney and Victoria West, quickly trimming the deficit down to four points at 41-37 with an 8-2 run.

But that’s as close as the Pelham could get. The team’s traded free throws the rest of the way and Oak Mountain closed it out with two from Gordon in the final minute to close the win.

Oak Mountain was led by Raegan Whitaker with 13 points, while Gordon finished with nine and Vica Hood finished with eight.

Pelham was led by 15 from Myriah Tate.