Despite another remarkable effort against a great basketball team on Tuesday night, the Oak Hill Golden Eagles came up just short to IWU recruit Tayson Parker and the Northwestern Tigers, falling by a score of 49-45.
Oak Hill came out firing in the first quarter, taking a 19-9 advantage after the first eight minutes and holding Parker to just two points. But the Tigers quickly rediscovered their rhythm, cutting the Oak Hill advantage to three at halftime.
“The first quarter was by far the best quarter of the year we have played,” Oak Hill Head Coach Kevin Renbarger said. “We let up off the gas in the second quarter and it cost us dearly. We got away from what made us so successful in the first quarter.”
Neither team created much separation in the second half. The biggest Oak Hill lead was four points, while the Tigers never led by any more than two points until the final seconds of the game.
However, poor shooting in the fourth quarter for the Golden Eagles turned out to be the difference, as the Tigers escaped with a four-point victory.
“In the second half and especially coming down the stretch, I do not feel we as coaches did a really good job of giving our kids options that they were comfortable with,” Renbarger said. “We were 2-10 in the fourth quarter with a few really good looks, but a lot of stuff that was forced and that is on me as a coach to ensure we come away with good possessions down the stretch.”
Despite their loss, Renbarger continues to be thrilled with how his team has played in recent games, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. Parker only finished the game with 18 points, and he had to earn every single one of them.
“I loved what I saw out of our defensive effort,” Renbarger said. “It wasn’t perfect and we had some lapses in rotations and judgement, but by in large, we were really good and made Parker work for the 18 he got. I was happy with the defensive effort. I just have to do a much better job on the other end to help assist the success of our offensive output and I did not do that tonight for our squad.”
Clay McCorkle led the Golden Eagles with 12 points, while Tahj Johnson was second on the team with 10.