Oak Mountain grabs win at own holiday tournament

Published 4:26 pm Monday, January 3, 2022

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

NORTH SHELBY – The Oak Mountain Eagles finished a two-week stretch of holiday tournaments with a combined record of 5-1 after going 3-0 at their own tournament Dec. 28-30.

Winning the first two games of the tournament by 30-plus points and a defensive championship game by six, the Eagles improved to 15-3 on the season with losses by nine points or less to Ramsay, Eufala and Spain Park—all top-10 teams.

In the opening game of the tournament, Oak Mountain took on Briarwood in a battle of two teams separated by just a few miles.

The Eagles, however, were too much early, which created all the separation needed.

They jumped out to a 13-0 lead at the end of the opening quarter, as the Lions failed to find the bottom of the basket in the period.

Oak Mountain eventually extended the lead to 15-0 on two free throws from Evan Smith to start the second quarter.

From there, both teams struggled offensively until Briarwood finally removed the seal from the basket with a 3-pointer from Avery Ray with 3:40 to play in the period.

Wilder Evers responded for Oak Mountain with a 6-2 run by himself to end the second quarter and give the Eagles a 21-5 lead at the break.

Oak Mountain took advantage of steals and offensive rebounds in the opening half, and they continued to do the same in the third quarter, as the offense found its best rhythm of the game.

It started with a 7-0 run for the Eagles, five of which came from Brady Dunn.

From there, Oak Mountain never looked back.

The Eagles gained their largest lead of the game off back-to-back field goals from Matthew Heiberger to end the third quarter, making it 41-14 going to the fourth.

That was more than enough, as Oak Mountain closed out a 50-20 win in the final quarter.

Dunn and Evers each finished the game with 14 points to lead the way for the Eagles.

Game two of the tournament against Clay-Chalkville was just as dominant for Oak Mountain thanks to three scorers in double figures.

Evers totaled 13 points, while Ryan Giegel finished with 11 and Dunn 10 to help the Eagles pull away for a 68-32 victory.

In the championship game, however, the Eagles went from three in double figures to none.

They were forced to use their defense to close out the tournament championship on their home floor, and that’s exactly what they did.

Taking on a good Paul Bryant team, who had won four in a row entering the game and seven of eight, Oak Mountain held the Stampede to 29 points for the game.

That was enough to earn a hard-fought 35-29 win for the championship.

Dunn finished the tournament with nine points to and earned the honor of MVP, while Heiberger finished the final game with eight points and nine rebounds. Evers didn’t contribute in the scoring column like he had, but was big in other facets with four assists and six rebounds.