SULLIVAN TWP. — For Oberlin’s boys basketball team, it was a chance to prove it could match a level of intensity with talent. For Black River, it was a chance to raise its talent to its high level of intensity.
Only the Phoenix was successful in its quest, as it rolled to an impressive 66-30 victory over a Pirates squad that showed a lot of heart.
It was hard for Oberlin coach Kurt Russell to hide his enthusiasm after the Patriot Athletic Conference cross-division game.
“We wanted to come out with a high level of intensity,” he said. “We’ve been lacking in that the first two games (both blowout losses), so it was important that we raised the bar tonight.”
Raise the bar Oberlin did, as a high-energy press harassed the Black River’s guards into 22 turnovers.
For Pirates coach/athletic director Josh Calame, it was actually a number worth savoring. Earlier in the week, previous coach Barry Balderson was forced to resign following an 80-42 loss to Chippewa in which the Pirates committed more than 30 turnovers.
“We worked on protecting the ball and advancing against the press,” Calame said. “Having only three days to practice and learning a new offense, I was really proud of how our kids progressed.”
Oberlin’s tandem of Charles Lewis (21 points, 11 rebounds, 3 steals) and Malcolm Allen (18, 3) put on a show. Lewis’ numbers were tallied over three quarters.
The Phoenix’s 2-2-1 defense forced multiple early turnovers that fueled a 20-5 first-quarter lead. Not much changed in the second, as Black River only added three more buckets.
“I tell you what, Malcolm played a whale of a game,” said Russell. “The way he and Lewis were attacking the rim and penetrating to the basket is exactly what we were striving for.”
Black River came out of halftime down 35-14 with the hopes of making a run. Oberlin had other plans, as it adjusted its man press to a 2-2-1 zone that reaped rewards. Following 10 turnovers in the third quarter, the Pirates found themselves facing a 60-21 hole.
With Lewis on the bench, the Pirates raised their game. While doing a better job of protecting the ball, Black River was actually able to pull off a moral victory by outscoring the Phoenix 9-6 in the fourth.
“That was an extremely athletic Oberlin team,” Calame said. “I was so proud of how our kids improved throughout the game. At no point did they hang their heads or give up, and after a week with all of this other stuff going on around them, I couldn’t be prouder.”
Contact Richard Doyle at email@example.com.
Oberlin 66, Black River 30
OBERLIN 20 15 25 6 — 66
BLACK RIVER 5 9 7 9 — 30
Oberlin — Charles Lewis 9-2-21, Malcolm Allen 5-5-18, , Donte LaRiccia 1-2-4, DeVonteHoughland 2-0-4, Marvin Jackson 1-0-2, Jae’Lin Moore3-2-8, Henry Smith 2-1-5, Ramon Eison 2-0-4, Anthony DePaul 0-0-0. TOTALS: 25-12-66.
Black River — Stephen Zumack 2-4-8, Tyler Potter 3-1-7, Curtis Roupe 1-1-3, Alex McIntyre 0-0-0, Allan Benson 0-0-0, Logan Goff 4-1-10, Gleb Crabtree 1-0-2, David Jeske 0-0-0, Tanner Hunter 0-0-0, Dylan Lewis 0-0-0 . TOTALS: 11-7-30.
3-point goals — Allen 3, Lewis, Goff.Rebounds — Oberlin 35 (Lewis 11), Black River 21 (Potter, McIntyre 4). Assists — Oberlin 10 (Houghland 3), Black River 7 (Benson 3). Records — Oberlin (1-2, 1-1), Black River (0-3, 0-1). Junior varsity — Oberlin 51, Black River 42.