Devils drop opener at buzzer

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Oak Hill rallied from seven points down and got a 3-pointer at the finish to win 61-60.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

 INDEPENDENCE -- Joshua Jones hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left Wednesday night, and Oak Hill Academy’s Red team swiped an opening-night win from Grayson County, 61-60.


“I thought we played pretty tough all night,” Grayson County coach Lucas Austin said. “You hate to lose one like that. We figured they’d try to go to [R.J. Currington], because it seemed like he was the one they had been trying to go to. But I thought Mikey [Rodgers] played pretty good D on the ball, the kid just threw a little jab step in there and knocked that shot down. But I told them that one missed free throw in the first half, one loose ball we didn’t get, all the little things, you can blame it on a lot of things.” The Blue Devils (0-1) matched their largest lead of the night, seven points, when Steven Eller ripped a 3-pointer from the left corner, giving Grayson County a 56-49 lead with just 3:32 to play. Oak Hill (3-0) held Grayson County scoreless for more than 90 seconds, though, scoring seven unanswered points and tying the game at 56 when R.J. Currington hit a jumper from the wing with 2:01 to go. Eric Harvey’s basket in the paint, plus single free throws by Rodgers and Tyler Rutherford, had the Blue Devils back in the lead, 60-58, with 19 ticks left before the Warriors called timeout with 11 seconds remaining to set up a final play. Jones took the inbounds pass near midcourt and took a few dribbles before freeing himself up from Rodgers on the right wing and swishing the game-winner. Whether it was first-game jitters or a general early-season lack of polish, Grayson County struggled with its shooting much of the night, hitting 22-of-65 from the floor (33.9 percent), including 1-of-11 from behind the 3-point line. Grayson was also a mere 14-for-26 from the foul line. But what the Blue Devils lacked in shine, they made up for with elbow grease as they hung even on the boards against a bigger opponent. “I thought we played hard against a pretty physical team,” Austin said. Jesse Blizzard’s baseline jumper had Grayson County leading 18-13 to start the second quarter, but the Warriors jumped ahead 23-21 on a trey from Caleb Porter. Oak Hill, which had been in front for a total of 12 seconds up to then, got another triple from Porter and took a 34-29 lead into the half. The advantage stood at seven points, 40-33, when Grayson County surged back in front on the strength of Eric Harvey’s 14 points and six rebounds in the third quarter. Harvey scored five points to spark a 9-1 run, and the Blue Devils jumped back in front 42-41 with 3:07 left in the third on a steal and layup by Rutherford. Harvey scored five more by the end of the period and Grayson County took a 49-45 lead into the fourth, stretching it to as many as seven points before the Warriors rallied back. “We tried a little zone, a half-court trap, and it wasn’t really effective as far as getting steals, but they were putting up some shots and missing them,” said Austin of Grayson’s third-period rally. “We got back into our transition game during that stretch, and we hit our only outside shot of the night there when Steve hit that three.” Harvey and Blizzard both record a double-double, Harvey with 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Blizzard with a hard-fought 10 points and 14 boards. Eller added 11 points for the Blue Devils. Oak Hill got balanced scoring from Currington (16 points), Jones (14) and Porter (13).   Oak Hill Red.........13  21  11  16––61 Grayson County....16  13  20  13––60

Oak Hill Red (3-0) Porter 5 1-2 13, Ishaka 4 0-0 8, Jones 6 0-0 14, Currington 4 7-9 16, Piner 2 0-3 4, Aciena 3 0-2 6. Totals 24 8-16 61. Grayson County (0-1) Rutherford 2 1-2 5, Eller 5 0-0 11, Rodgers 1 1-4 3, Harvey 8 9-15 25, Bowen 2 2-2 6, Blizzard 5 0-2 10. Totals 23 14-25 60.

Three-point field goals – Oak Hill 4-21 (Porter 2, Jones 2, Currington), Grayson County 1-11 (Eller). Rebounds – Oak Hill 45 (Aciena 13), Grayson County 44 (Blizzard 14). Turnovers – Oak Hill 16, Grayson County 13. Team fouls – Oak Hill 16, Grayson County 13. Fouled out – none. Technical fouls – Harvey.