Oak Hill Academy claims District title

Oak Hill Academy (courtesy)
Taylor Rayburn
Special to Daily Times Leader

Despite a slow start, Oak Hill Academy was able to turn defense into offense on its way to a MAIS AA District 1 title in a 38-33 win over Carroll Academy on Saturday night.

Head coach of the Oak Hill Raiders (13-10) Jon Bauer talked about what the district title means for his team.

“We had our ups and downs during the year,” Bauer said. “We got a few wins there that really propelled us. We had some momentum built from the end of the season. One of our main goals all year is to win the district title. For our guys to go over to Carroll and do that, I was very proud of the way they fought and what they accomplished this year.”

The Raiders got off to a slow start, trailing seven to nine at the end of the first quarter, but held Carroll to just four points in the second quarter to take a 14-13 lead into halftime.

Bauer said their defense is a point of emphasis and a strong point of their team. Throughout talking about the game he always came back to the way his defense played.
“That has been out main stay all year,” Bauer said. “To be the best defensive team we can be.”

After a low scoring first half, both teams exploded in the second half. Oak Hill was unable to put Carroll away despite getting a decent lead and headed into the final period up 25-22.

The final quarter was the only quarter where both teams scored more than 10 points. Oak Hill scored 13 and Carroll scored 11.

“They made a run on us, but we were able to get some stops and get a couple scores,” Bauer said. “Then hit some lay-ups there at the end to win. Overall, we played well. Defensively, I thought we played well, limiting a team to 33 points is pretty good.”

Transition lay-ups were a big part of Oak Hill’s offensive strategy. Bauer said they are a smaller quicker team that sometimes struggles with jump shots, so getting steals to get easy lay-ups is a focal point.

“That is big for us and it has been all year,” Bauer said. “We are not the best jump shooting team so we try to get the best out of each other from a defensive stand point and get those easy lay-ups and energize us.”

He also pointed out that free throws were a big help to their offensive numbers. They attempted 22 free throws and made 13 of them.

“Score could have been where we did not have to work quite as hard at the end if we hit some of those free throws,” Bauer said. “Especially in a game that is close it is important to get those free throws.”

Their leading scorer on the night was Daniel Harrington, who scored 14 points and benefited from Oak Hill’s free throw opportunities. Bauer said they tried to get the ball to Harrington inside to get Carroll into foul trouble. Something that worked as Harrington took seven free throws, making six.

With him was Reiley Tate, who scored 10 points despite going through what Bauer called a rough patch scoring wise the last few games.

“He has been in kind of slump over the last few games,” Bauer said. “He is quick and athletic and he gets a lot of points getting steals. He really makes us go, we rely on him and his defense.”

With the district title in hand, the Raiders will travel to Benton Academy to play Tri State Academy tonight. If they win they advance to the semifinals of north state against the winner of Marshall Academy and Greenville Christian.