By JACK HILL III
11:21 PM EST, December 7, 2012
The North Hagerstown boys basketball team let one get away.
The Hubs, who held a 25-12 advantage after the first 11 minutes, went dormant in the final 2 1/2 quarters as Oakdale used a closing 41-21 flurry on Friday to notch a 53-46 victory.
Zach Thomas, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, scored 18 of his 22 points and pulled down eight of his 11 rebounds during the second half for Oakdale (2-0).
“We played them tough,” North Hagerstown coach Kevin Hartman said. “It was a physical game, which is what we do. We had some turnovers, but all of that is fixable.
“We knew that we had to contain Zach Thomas. We were able to stop him in the first half, but we couldn’t do it in the second half. Effort-wise, we played hard.”
North Hagerstown (1-1) held a 42-40 lead after three quarters.
The fourth quarter was a battle of lead changes and ties in the first five minutes. The game was tied 45-45 with three minutes remaining.
The Bears closed out the game by outscoring the Hubs 8-1 to lock up the victory.
Thomas scored a basket and added one of two free throws, while center John Bush converted one of two foul shots to give Oakdale a 49-45 lead with 27 seconds remaining.
Andrew Yacyk sank one of two foul shots with 26 seconds left to help North Hagerstown cut the lead down to 49-46. It was as close as the Hubs would get the rest of the way.
Point guard Clay Conner made four free throws in the final 25 seconds to give Oakdale the final margin of victory.
“We were just sticking to it and not giving up,” Oakdale coach Terry Connolly said. “That was the key to our victory tonight. They made us not play well in the first half. North is a scrappy team. Kevin Hartman does a good job with his team. We were down by 13 points, but we were able to cut the lead to six by halftime. That greatly enhanced our chances of getting back in it. It was a good high school basketball game for Dec. 7.”
Conner scored 11 points, while Bush added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Bears.
Guard Eli Boykin scored a team-high 15 points for the Hubs. Kenny McCrary and Yacyk pulled down 11 rebounds each.
Thomas came up big for the Bears.
“Zach Thomas was our leading scorer last year,” Connolly said. “He was able to score in the crucial moments for us.”
JV: Oakdale 54-38 (O: Nick Bloom 13; NH: Jorge Rios, Jerrod Green 10 each).
Oakdale 53, North Hagerstown 46
Bush 10, Heine 7, Conner 11, James 0, Gouldin 0 2, Thomas 22, Simpson 1. Totals 18 16-28 53.
NORTH HAGERSTOWN (1-1)
Ober 8, Gantt 2, Boykin 15, Karlen 2, McCrary 6, Carey 3, Yacyk 6, Peralta 4. Totals 14 18-24 46.
Oakdale 12 13 15 13 — 53
North Hagerstown 17 14 11 4 — 46
3-point goals — Oakdale 1 (Heine).