OAK HILL — Cody Stapleton has been aware of these stakes before.
In his first two years of high school, Stapleton was a part of the Portsmouth basketball program that made back-to-back state appearances. So when he touched the ball in the fourth quarter Friday night, Minford coach Josh Shoemaker knew something positive would happen.
Stapleton connected on a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter at Oak Hill to give the Falcons at that point a seven-point lead that would help lead to a 55-46 win. There was no question what the play of the game was in Shoemaker’s mind.
“Stapleton’s three but he made a lot of second half shots that put us ahead,” Shoemaker said
Trailing by one entering halftime Friday night, the visitors (17-4, 11-3) outscored Oak Hill (18-4, 10-4) 32-22 in the second half. With the victory, Minford will have a share of the SOC II championship, the first since the school’s only other title coming in 1995. Valley (17-5, 11-3) defeated Waverly 73-37 for the other piece.
“We have only won one ever in 1995 and I told these guys their in the record books forever,” Shoemaker said.
Stapleton nailed a 3-pointer on the Falcons first possession to quickly give them a 40-33 lead. Stapleton then made a 15-footer to extend Minford’s 42-33 on the following possession.
Minford held the Oaks to only six made field goals in he entire second half.
“We felt we guarded well going into halftime and it carried over into the second half,” Shoemaker said.
After an Oak Hill basket, Austin McBee runner and a foul gave the Falcons a 45-35 lead with 5:18 remaining in the game which seemed to seal the game.
Trailing by one at halftime, Minford held the Oaks to only two field goals in the third. Oak Hill’s Kyle Love was responsible for both of them as he scored six points in the period and 13 for the game.
Kenton Gullion led the Falcons with 13 points. McBee and Stapleton each had 11 and Jared McCray chipped in with 10.
“Having four guys in double (figures) was huge,” Shoemaker said. “Balanced scoring led us in this game.”
Drew Haislop led all scorers with 16 in the loss. Minford, a five-seed, will play No. 4 Chesapeake next Friday night at Jackson. The Oaks, who drew a No. 2 seed, will play the winner of the No. 10 South Point-No. 7 Coal Grove game next Saturday.
Oak Hill coach Norm Persin was unavailable for comment after the game.
Editor’s note: The box score will be in Sunday’s edition of the Daily Times.