But on their senior night, it was the host Oaks who ended the Jeeps' dreams of a conference crown with a 44-37 victory. The loss guarantees the Pirates the SOC II championship outright.
“We kept battling but we weren't mentally tough enough to make the plays that we needed to make,” South Webster coach Steven Ater said. “We'd get it to maybe a manageable score and then we would turn it over or we'd let somebody slip behind us or give up an offensive board. It was just little things that blew up on us tonight and you can't do that against a well-coached, disciplined team.”
The theme of the night was the adventures for both teams at the free throw line. Oak Hill went 6-of-18 from the line for the game. The Oaks missed their first four free throws of the game and were 4-of-12 in the fourth quarter. To Oak Hill coach Norm Persin, he had an interesting viewpoint on his team's shooting from the line
“I agree 100 percent (how free throws are an issue),” Persin said, “but my biggest thing is not to be concerned about it because if you're really concerned about it, it gets into kids' heads.”
While the Oaks struggled to convert free throws, the Jeeps went to the line on just one occasion. With 7:19 left in regulation, Connor Scott knocked down two from the charity stripe.
“I felt like we got a lot of contact at the rim and fouls weren't called,” Ater said. “But we've got to be able to play through that and make some of those shots. And then when shots aren't going to fall, you've got to do something different, whether it's pull up and shoot the shot shorter or maybe it's making a play on the other end to get a stop.”
Oak Hill was whistled for one foul in the first half. That offense was credited to Garrin Stiltner midway through the first quarter. The next Oak foul would again be called on Stiltner – just 32 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Oak Hill was whistled for three fouls the entire game – the two on Stiltner and one on Josh Kisor that sent Scott to the line. In comparison, South Webster's Josh Wright and Brandon Malone each fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
The game appeared to be in the Jeeps' favor early. They used a 7-0 run to start the game and led the entire period. Thanks to a timeout by Persin after the 7-0 run, Oak Hill went on a 17-2 run that spanned the first and second quarters and never trailed the rest of the way.
“I thought we let them push the lead in the second quarter,” Ater said. “...I think the second quarter was what beat us.”
The last time South Webster made a rally came in the fourth, which was capped off by an Ashton Miller field goal to bring the score to 31-29. After Miller's tally, the Oaks outscored the Jeeps 13-8 to close the scoring.
“I thought our defense was outstanding,” Persin said. “We made sure where (Austin) Loop was at the entire night and we wanted to make sure we didn't give Scott dribble penetration.”
Scott led South Webster with nine points on 3-of-19 shooting from the field, one-for-seven from the arc, and 10 rebounds.
“I thought he tried to be aggressive,” Ater said. “We talked about being aggressive against the zone.”
Kisor was the only player in the game to reach double-figures with 11 points on five-of-nine shooting from the field and eight rebounds.
The SOC II portion of the regular season for both teams will come to a close Friday night. The Oaks travel to Wheelersburg while it will be senior night for the Jeeps as they entertain Valley.
NOTES: The Ironton St. Joseph-South Webster game has been canceled. At this time, the Jeeps are looking to find an opponent to fill the 20th spot.
CODY LEIST can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at (740) 353-3101 ext. 242.
South Webster 9 4 12 12 – 37
Oak Hill 8 17 6 13 – 44
South Webster – Miller 3 0 8, Scott 3 2 9, Loop 3 0 8, Wright 1 0 2, Malone 2 0 4, Sutton 3 0 6, Totals 15 2 37.
Oak Hill – Stiltner 3 0 7, Slone 5 0 10, Hale 2 3 8, Gaines 3 2 8, Kisor 5 1 11, Totals 18 6 44.
3-Pointers – South Webster 5 (Miller 2, Loop 2, Scott); Oak Hill 2 (Stiltner, Hale).
Records – South Webster 14-4 (9-4); 14-5 (9-4).