Losses put damper of OHA senior night, Bales tribute

Lady Raiders Sydney Pierce and McKenzie McGee defend in Tuesday’s game against Carroll Academy.
Staff Writer

Senior night didn’t shine on Oak Hill Academy’s basketball teams Tuesday.

The boys couldn’t dig themselves out of a hole from a disastrous second quarter, losing a 40-39 heartbreaker to Carroll Academy, a team the Raiders had downed by 16 two weeks ago. The girls lost 53-31 to a good Lady Rebels team.

The Raiders started hot, leading 15-14 after the first quarter as an all-senior starting lineup was productive, especially as seniors Nate Lamkin, Ash Cullum and Lucas Birmingham hit three-pointers in the period.

But things changed in the second period. Dalton Magers’ basket was the only score for the Raiders, who fell behind 24-17 at the half.

Oak Hill cut that gap to four at the third stop and fell just a point short in the end, despite holding the visiting Rebels to just seven points in the final period.

“We had a difficult time scoring all night. We were settling for outside shots against their zone and the shots just weren’t going in,” Coach John Bauer said.

“Defensively in the third quarter we stopped communicating on their screens and allowed them to score inside.

“It was senior night and with all that went on with it, I do think it drained us a little emotionally, but the seniors who started played well the time they were in the game,” the coach continued. “It is tough since we beat them at their place and with how well we played Monday night.”

Before the boys game, the school honored the senior boys and girls players and paid tribute to Thomas Lee Bales, who would have been a senior this year.

The seniors presented his family with a framed “2” jersey, the number he wore in basketball. In special recognition, his little brother, Drew, warmed up with the team. He is a fifth-grader at Oak Hill.

Thomas Bales died in a swimming accident at Smith Lake in Alabama in August 2017, the weekend before he was supposed to start his junior year at Oak Hill.

Nate Lamkin, in his last regular-season game at Oak Hill after six years of playing, led the team with eight points, including two three-pointers. One of those in the fourth quarter excited the crowd during the comeback.

Fellow senior Ash Cullum finished with seven points. Senior Lucas Birmingham, Dalton Magers and Daniel Harrington posted five points each, Cooper Hill added four, Branden Stevenson three and Jaden Craven two.

Austin Smith led Carroll with 18 points. The Rebels also got 12 from Reese Fulton.

The Lady Raiders fell behind 169 after one quarter and 32-15 at the half and could never get back in it.

Rachel McLain led the team with seven points while Carley Wooten added six. Reagan Freeman, the team’s lone senior, scored five. Julianne Glusenkamp, McKenzie McGee, Sydney Pierce, Davie Suggs and Sara Nash had two each and McKenzie Middleton and Anna Grace Reed each hit a free throw.

The Raiders try to get back on track on the road Friday at district foe Winona Christian and close out the regular season at district foe Marshall Academy Jan. 29.

The district tournament starts Feb. 5 at Marshall.