MINFORD — While Minford certainly may feel the need to burn the tape of its overtime loss at home to Oak Hill on Tuesday, the Falcons might be better served learning from the experience of a tight, tournament-style loss than heading straight to the chimney with the film.
A pessimist may look at Tuesday’s game and say that if the Falcons had secured the rebound that ultimately led to Chase Hammond’s game-tying putback as regulation ended, they would have sealed a home win over one of the top teams in their league.
An optimist may look at Tuesday’s loss and say that if Minford (2-1, 1-1 SOC II) can play and improve on the level they showcased in a game that they led for most of regulation, then they could compete with the top teams in a wide-open Southern Ohio Conference Division II.
Minford coach Josh Shoemaker is taking both angles following the Falcons’ 55-49 overtime loss to Oak Hill.
“Really proud of our effort for the whole game tonight,” Shoemaker said. “It was a game of runs. We went up, they went up, we battled back. It came down to one possession. We get the stop, ball ends up in (Chase) Hammond’s hands and he hits the shot to send it to overtime. Proud of our effort again, I really like where we are right now.”
As Shoemaker alluded to, a Minford box-out on Oak Hill senior Chase Hammond, who scored 15 points (11 in second half), prevents the second team all-Southeast District forward from scoring the game-tying shot as time expired in regulation.
Instead, Hammond grabs the rebound off a Landon Hines’ missed three and promptly scores the putback bucket to make it 47-all with triple zeroes across the Falcons’ scoreboard. Oak Hill would go on to win the overtime period 8-2 to steal the 55-49 road win over host Minford.
While Hammond may have gotten the better of the Falcons as the game extended into a four-minute overtime period, Minford senior Hunter Davis was a thorn in the all-Ohio senior’s side all game with his excellent defensive play.
In the first half, Davis limited Hammond to just one made field goal on a total of four first-half points — as the Falcons led the Oaks 18-14 at the break. Before fouling out in the overtime period, Davis gave up just four Hammond made field goals, a season-low for the Oaks’ senior through the early stages of the season.
“To me he played a perfect game,” Shoemaker said on Davis. “He did everything we asked for him to do. He played great defense without fouling, he rebounded, he played defense without fouling. Tremendous effort out of him. Our other guys did a great job of helping down and doubling when they needed to.”
Davis finished Tuesday’s loss with six points.
Oak Hill’s true offensive threats in Tuesday’s win were the three-point shooting of seniors Keaton Potter and Drew Hanning. Fifteen of Potter’s game-high 21 were from three-point land, while Hanning connected on three made-threes for his 15 points.
Potter scored a game-high 13 points in the fourth quarter, as the Oaks edged the Falcons 20-16 in the final period of regulation.
Leading the Falcons on the offensive end was junior guard Skyler Knore, who finished Tuesday’s loss with 14 points with eight coming in the fourth quarter.
Knore, whose back-to-back threes tied things with the Oaks at 42-42 and subsequently gave his Falcons a 45-42 lead with 1:44 to go in regulation, was key in positioning the Falcons in their chance to win after a 7-0 Oaks’ run gave Oak Hill its first lead since it led 8-7 in the opening stages.
“The biggest thing during that back-and-forth stretch was attention to detail,” Shoemaker said. “Even though we’re down, it’s paying attention to the next play. Keeping your head up and getting that stop. Getting that score and a big steal, Skyler having the confidence to knock that down. I liked that we regrouped and kept fighting. When we got down, we could have hung our heads and quit. Instead we kept fighting, had a shot to win it at the end of the game, just didn’t go our way.”
Minford senior Nathan McCormick, who scored seven of his nine points in the third quarter, was also key in helping stave off the Oaks’ comeback attempts. Freshman Adam Crank, a name to keep an eye on throughout his early Falcon career, scored 10 points in the loss. Trenton Zimmerman and Matthew Risner each finished with five.
While the gut-reaction from Tuesday’s loss certainly could be what could have been, the Falcons will likely use this as an eye-opening experience to what they are capable of as the season progresses.
“There were some areas we can definitely improve,” Shoemaker said. “We turned the ball over way too much, especially in the second half. We can continue to get better offensively. But we know that Oak Hill is one of the top teams in our area, and we went toe-to-toe with them, and if it wasn’t for a buzzer-beater we would have won. I think we can take positives out of this, especially with the year we had last year to know that we’re battling with the best teams, so we’ll continue to grow and get better.”
Oak Hill 8 6 13 20 (8) — 55
Minford 10 8 13 16 (2) — 49
OAK HILL 55 (3-0, 2-0 SOC II)
Keaton Potter 7 2-2 21, Drew Hanning 5 2-2 15, Luke Stewart 0 0-0 0, Noah Donley 2 0-0 2, Landon Hines 2 0-1 2, Chase Hammond 5 5-11 15; TOTALS 19 9-16 55; Three-point goals: 8 (Keaton Potter 5 and Drew Hanning 3)
MINFORD 49 (2-1, 1-1 SOC II)
Hunter Davis 2 1-2 6, Trenton Zimmerman 2 0-0 5, Skyler Knore 5 0-0 14, Nathan McCormick 4 0-0 9, Matthew Risner 1 3-4 5, Adam Crank 4 0-0 10; TOTALS 18 4-6 49; Three-point goals: 9 (Skyler Knore 4, Adam Crank 2, Hunter Davis, Trenton Zimmerman and Nathan McCormick 1 apiece)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved