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Vikings burn Phoenix: Oberlin falls in first regional appearance since 2001
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL LaBrae’s Peyton Aldridge dunks for two of his game-high 28 points against Oberlin in a Division III, Region 9 Semifinal on Wednesday.
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Oberlin’s Jason Moore scores over two defenders in the first half against LaBrae in a Division III, Region 9 Semifinal at Canton Memorial Fieldhouse.
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Oberlin’s starters are shown sitting on the bench for the last two minutes in a Division III, Region 9 Semifinal against Leavittsburg LaBrae at Canton Memorial Fieldhouse on Wednesday. LaBrae won the game, 75-52.
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Oberlin's Jason Moore, right, runs into two LaBrae defenders in a Division III, Region 9 Semifinal against Leavittsburg LaBrae at Canton Memorial Fieldhouse on Wednesday. LaBrae won the game, 75-52.
It was a case of Oberlin just running into a better team. Of course, it didn’t help that the Phoenix had one of their worst shooting performances of the season in the team’s biggest game since 2001.
“I’m just so proud of our kids. Even though we lost tonight I feel good,” Oberlin coach Kurt Russell said. “I feel good because we had this magical ride. This ride was tremendous. I’m proud of these boys, but tonight was just a difficult matchup for us.”
All night long the Phoenix had no answer for LaBrae’s Peyton Aldridge. The 6-11 junior led all scorers with 28 points while pulling down 15 rebounds.
“Peyton’s really good. I think we had seven or eight colleges here tonight looking at him,” LaBrae coach Chad Kiser said. “He’s already got 10 division one scholarship offers. He’s just so versatile. I think he’s the most versatile player in the state.”
From the outset, the Vikings came out and took control of the game, scoring easy baskets while making the Phoenix work for everything on offense.
“We shot the ball poorly,” Russell said. “It wasn’t about effort, it was just that we couldn’t make our shots. It just goes like that sometimes.”
The Phoenix shot just 31 percent from the field and could never find their rhythm on offense, thanks, in large part, to the LaBrae defense.
After scouting the Phoenix a few times during the postseason, Kiser said he felt his team could slow Oberlin’s preferred fast tempo game, and force them into more of a half-court offense where they’d have to shoot outside jumpers.
The plan worked to perfection.
“I don’t think nerves were a problem for us tonight,” Russell said. “We’re not a very good shooting team, in the first place. Sometimes we’ll go through these droughts. Going through a drought in a sectional game, you can overcome that. In a regional semifinal, a scoring drought is hard to overcome.”
Oberlin’s first half scoring drought saw them fall behind 32-13 in the first half, with Aldridge scoring 16 of his team’s points. The Phoenix closed out the half going on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 11, though.
Any momentum the Phoenix took with them into the locker room at halftime was left there, as the Vikings came out once again on fire and blew the game open in the third.
“In the second half I think Aldridge came out and took over,” Russell said. “They just played a better third quarter. They came out a little harder than we did. I think it was more them and not us.”
Despite an overall poor shooting night for the team, Oberlin’s senior trio of Jason Moore, Marcus Bailey and Noland Isom gave everything they had. Moore finished the game with a team-high 17 points, while Bailey and Isom added 12 and nine, respectively.
Russell said the worst part about the loss is not having his seniors any longer.
“I mentioned in the locker room that the emotion that I have is because I’ll never have Jason, Marcus and Noland again,” he said. “That’s the hard part, losing the seniors, especially seniors of that caliber. They’re not only good basketball players, but good young men.
“We can’t replace them, but hopefully we’ll be able to move forward with our younger players and see what happens next year.”
LaBrae 75, Oberlin 52
D-III Canton Regional Semifinal
LABRAE — Chris Clevenger 3-0 6, Peyton Aldridge 13-1 28, Justin Jenkins 1-0 3, Tyler Shiamone 1-0 3, Carl Brown 3-3 9, Blake Sprague 1-0 2, Nate Middleton 3-1 8, John Richards 3-2 10, Marcell Richardson 2-2 6. TOTALS 30-9 75.
OBERLIN — Marvin Jackson 0-2 2, Malcom Allen 1-0 3, Jason Moore 8-1 17, Demonte Taborn 0-4 4, Charles Lewis 3- 4, Kalif Townsel 0-1 1, Marcus Bailey 5-1 12, Noland Isom 4-0 9. TOTALS 20-9 52.
3-POINT GOALS — L: Aldridge, Jenkins, Shiamone, Middleton, Richards (2); O: Allen, Bailey, Isom.
Score By Quarters
LaBrae 15 17 23 20 — 75
Oberlin 8 13 12 19 — 52
Field Goals — LaBrae 30 of 47 (64 percent), Oberlin 20 of 64 (31 percent).
Free Throws — L 9 of 15 (60 percent), O 9 of 13 (69 percent).
Rebounds — L 31 (Aldridge 15), O 20 (Moore 7).
Turnovers — L 16, O 8.
Last Updated: 3/13/2013 11:53:38 PM EST