Golden Bears back at it
NEW CUMBERLAND, W.Va. — March Madness has a slightly different meaning for the Oak Glen boys’ basketball team and all of West Virginia winter sports teams this season.
As Ohio teams played in their respective district finals on Friday night, Oak Glen played its first game of the season.
The Bears fell to Brooke 73-55 in the season opener for both teams Friday night.
“It feels good to compete,” Oak Glen coach Jerry Everly said. “Just to get out there. We have been watching Ohio play all winter thinking that one little thing could slip us up.”
Even though the result wasn’t what the Bears wanted, just being on the floor was a great feeling.
“They came out and got some quick baskets on us,” Everly said. “We didn’t execute in the fourth quarter. We scored 10 points in the fourth. I thought we moved the ball better in the third.
“We knew from playing them last year that they were big and strong,” Everly said. “We knew they could shoot and we talked about getting out on shooters. In the first half we struggled with that and they did hit some shots.
“I thought for the most part we handled ourselves. We will find a better offense in the fourth to get us into something we can rely on.”
Oak Glen cut the Brooke lead to just three in the third quarter but were outscored 25-10 in the fourth.
For Brooke, Cole Sperlazza had a game-high 19 points and Alex Isinghood had 17 points, including 13 in the first half.
Gage Patterson led the Bears with 18 points and Jered Hissam added 16.
“It’s hard process,” Patterson said. “We got a lot of young guys. Four of our guys are juniors and sophomores and Jacob (Clark) is out. It’s a hard process and we just have to keep grinding.
“We just have to maintain possession and clock management. I think I rushed things too much.”
“He’s a leader and he is a competitor,” Everly said. “He’s an exceptional athlete and he is fun to coach.”
Senior forward Jacob Clark missed the game due to a small tear in his patella tendon, according to Everly. He is looking to return Tuesday against Madonna. Senior Brayden Mineard is out for the season from a football injury.
Even though the season started late, the Bears have kept their confidence and focus throughout the winter.
“They do it themselves,” Everly said. “It is nothing that I do. They just love playing basketball and they are high school kids who want to be involved and get out there and compete. I think that’s the thing they missed in all the sports was just competing. These kids are athletes at the end of the day and they want to get out and play against other teams and get the fans behind them.”
“We all have been playing together and have confidence in our young guys,” Clark said. “I believe in them for sure.”
“We have been playing all summer and winter together and just working together,” Patterson said. “We are just trying to keep our heads straight and focus on our next game.”
Unfortunately for the Bears, they will miss out on playing any Ohio teams this season.
“We wanted to play Wellsville and East Liverpool,” Every said. “Beaver Local we had scheduled twice this season and the kids were excited to compete.”
“It’s been strange but there is nothing you can do about it,” Clark said. “At least we got games and a season.”
In jayvee action, Brooke won 40-38.
Oak Glen will host North Marion today.
BROOKE: 20-19-9 -25–73
OAK GLEN: 14-12-19-10–55
BROOKE SCORING: Dalton Anderson 0-0-0, Nick Brown, 2-0-4, AJ Wright 1-0-2, Ryan Knox 4-0-12, Alex Isinghood 7-2-17, Cole Sperlazza 5-9-19, Robert Miroslaw 1-2-5, Andrew Coursin 6-0-14. TEAM TOTALS: 26, 13-17: 73.
OAK GLEN SCORING: Chaise Clark 3-0-8, Gage Patterson 8-2-18, Ethan Arner 0-0-0, Jered Hissam 5-2-16, Landon Beatty 1-0-2, Matt Greenlief 0-0-0, Jontae Howard 4-0-8, Jeremy Taylor 1-1-3. TEAM TOTALS: 22, 5-9: 55.
Three-point goals: Brooke 7 (Knox 4, Coursin 2, Miroslaw), Oak Glen 6 (Hissam 4, Clark 2).