Oak Mountain pulls away from Pelham in county rivalry

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

PELHAM – A strong scoring spurt between the second and third quarters lifted Oak Mountain to a 53-30 win over rival Pelham on Wednesday, Dec. 9, for a road victory.

Trailing 11-9 at the end of the opening quarter after Pelham’s Roy Gonzalez hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, Oak Mountain came out and outscored the Panthers 34-9 between the second and third quarters to create separation and lead to the dominant win.

Early on, it looked like a tight battle was set to unfold in a back-and-forth opening quarter to the game and with Oak Mountain starter Will Shaver sitting out the game.

Pelham jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a layup from Roy Gonzalez before Wilder Evers answered quickly with a 3-pointer to set what looked to be an up-and-down tone to the period.

But those became the only two baskets in the first three minutes of the game.

It took until there was less than five minutes in the period before Evan Pate knocked down a 3-pointer for Pelham to break that scoreless drought.

And that again led to a back-and-forth battle. The team’s traded leads with Oak Mountain answering back with a 4-0 run, followed by three free throws from the Panthers before a Gavin Nelson dunk made it 8-9 Eagles.

But Pelham’s Gonzalez bookended the quarter with the final points thanks to a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the Panthers in front 11-9.

But that’s when the Eagles turned up the heat.

After falling behind 13-11 early in the second quarter, they went on a 15-3 run the rest of the way, including a 10-0 run to end the quarter, to outscore the Panthers 17-5 in the second quarter and storm in front for a 26-16 halftime lead.

Oak Mountain was able to take advantage of much better ball movement in the period, which led to two 3-pointers from Brady Dunn and easy layups from Smith, Young and Matthew Heiberger. And if it wasn’t the ball movement, it was steals and the fast break leading to easy points, as Pelham struggled to find an offensive rhythm.

Now with all of the momentum to start the second half, the Eagles picked up right where they left off in the third quarter with a 13-0 run to take full control of the game.

Evers scored the first five points of the frame, while Young had the next five and six of the next seven points to help Oak Mountain take a 39-16 advantage.

Avery Childress then scored Pelham’s first basket of the quarter with three minutes to play, but it was one of just two shots made by the Panthers in the period.

The Eagles outscored the Panthers 17-4 in the quarter for a combined score of 34-9 over the last two periods.

In the final quarter, Pelham looked much better with 10 points and going 4-4 from the free throw line, but Oak Mountain put the final stamp on the game with a six-point quarter from Ean Gove to finish off the dominant 23-point win.

For Oak Mountain, Evers, Dunn, Young and Smith all finished with eight points, while nine different players scored in the win.

Pelham also had nine players score in the game, but nobody had more than Kendan Maddox’s six points. The biggest bright spot for the Panthers was a 8-9 mark from the free throw line.