PDT Sports Writer
JACKSON — The last time the Oak Hill boys basketball team made it to Ohio University’s Convocation Center, the Oaks made a trip to the state tournament.
For the first time since 2009 in Division IV, Oak Hill will be playing in the Southeast District Tournament. This time as a member of Division III, the No. 2 Oaks earned the right Saturday with a 49-43 win over No. 10 South Point at Jackson High School.
While the thrill of a trip to Athens is in his team’s future, Oak Hill coach Norm Persin admitted the road to it was a challenge.
“When you’re not making shots, the kids get a little frustrated,” Persin said. “…Our defense kept us in there.”
One thing Persin was worried about entering the contest was how his team would react after a long break between games. The Pointers had played earlier in the week in a sectional semifinal.
“The kids come in and I don’t care who you’re playing, unless you’re playing a team that you’re 50 points better than, you’re kids are going to come in a little tight because it’s moving from here to The Convo, which is the step that all of the kids want to make because of the atmosphere,” Persin said. “I thought we were really tight with some of our kids tonight.”
One sign the team shook off the rust was a 22-14 edge in the second quarter scoring.
“When we got in our transition, we got a lot of easy buckets,” Persin said. “When we ran through our offense, I think we were fine. It was just making shots.”
At first glance, a 32-26 lead at the half looked to have cured all issues, but at one point in the fourth quarter, South Point held a 38-37 lead. That’s when Luke Hammond took over.
The senior guard, in the span of 1:05, took over with his own 5-0 run. Kyle Love then found Drew Haislop on a backdoor cut to the basket to make it a 7-0 run for the Oaks.
“The ball had to be in Luke’s hands, we said our offense was going through Luke Hammond at halftime,” Persin said. “Get it to him and then when they doubled Luke, we had guys wide open on the basket.”
Oak Hill maintained a 30-25 rebounding edge overall and 17-3 offensively. With two people taller than 6-2, the stat is a major accomplishment.
Hammond and Garrin Stiltner led the victors with 13 points. Haislop dropped a dozen.
The Oaks will play the No. 6 Meigs-No. 3 Federal Hocking winner in the district semifinals. No matter who they play, Persin is glad for this senior class.
“This is a great effort and I really feel good for this group of kids to be in The Convo,” Persin said.
The theme until tipoff in Athens will be to get the right energy in practice while scaling back practice.
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
South Point 12 14 7 10 — 43
Oak Hill 10 22 3 14 — 49
South Point — Johnson 2-2-8, Meadows 6-4-17, Barnes 6-3-18, Totals 14-9-43.
Oak Hill — Gaines 1-0-2, Stiltner 4-4-13, Haislop 4-4-12, Kidd 0-4-4, Love 2-1-5, Hammond 6-1-13, Totals 17-14-49.
3-Point Goals — South Point 6 (Barnes 3, Johnson 2, Meadows); Oak Hill 1 (Stiltner).
Records — South Point 10-13; Oak Hill 19-4.