The Oak Harbor High School boys basketball team had to put in a little extra time against visiting Meridian Friday, Dec. 29, but it was worth the effort. The Wildcats defeated the Trojans 63-58 in overtime.
After losing its first seven games, Oak Harbor (0-2, 2-8) has now won two of the past three and will take that momentum into a home conference match with Shorewood (0-2, 1-9) at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2.
The Meridian match-up was see-saw battle; the teams were tied at 14 after one quarter and Meridian led 29-28 at half time. Neither team held more than a 4 point advantage until the middle of the third period when the Trojans went on an 8-0 run to lead 37-29. The lead was 5, 45-40, going into the fourth quarter.
Oak Harbor quickly made up the difference, going an 11-3 run to go ahead 51-48 midway through the quarter. The Wildcats were ahead 54-52 in the final minute and had possession. With the shot clock running down, Oak Harbor put up an attempt that was blocked by Meridian. The Trojans came up with the loose ball and fired it up court for an uncontested lay-in to tie the score with just seconds remaining.
The Wildcats’ Dorian Hardin put up a 30-footer at the buzzer but the shot didn’t fall.
Oak Harbor scored first in overtime. Ozell Jackson won the tip that led to a lay-in by Hardin. Meridian eventually tied the game; then with 1:20 remaining, Oak Harbor called time out and set up a play that would result in the winning basket.
Haven Brown scored on a pick-and-roll with a nice move to the rim, similar to the play he made to make the go-ahead hoop in Oak Harbor’s first win last week.
The Wildcat defense came up with stops to force Meridian to foul, and Gabe Salinger and Hardin drilled their free throws to ice the game. The final margin, 5 points, was Oak Harbor’s largest of the game.
“It was our most complete game offensively, and we were pretty consistent on defense as well,” coach John Weston said. “I was really proud of the guys. It was truly a team effort, everyone really contributed, (and) the guys brought a lot more energy tonight. It was a good win.”
After a dismal shooting night two days earlier in a loss to Mount Vernon, Oak Harbor shot 41 percent
(23-for-56) in the win. Meridian shot 35 percent (20-for-57). The Wildcats were also able to run against the Trojans, outscoring Meridian 13-2 in transition points, and control the middle, outscoring the Trojans 30-18 in the paint.
Oak Harbor featured a balanced offense. Salinger finished with 15 points, Hardin 12, Brown 9, Gavin Allen 9, Jackson 8, Austin Boesch 5 and Kevin Schuldt 5.
Brown also had five rebounds, four assists and two blocks, while Hardin collected five boards and five assists. Allen and Schuldt each grabbbed six rebounds, and Schuldt added two assists.
Zac Kinney led Meridian with 20 points.