Oakville boys’ basketball team receives splash of cold reality in district play

By STEPHEN GLOVER

After winning five of its previous seven games, the Oak-ville Senior High School boys’ basketball team received a cold splash of reality in district action.

The Tigers (13-14, 3-5 Suburban West) were eliminated last week in the first round of the District 5 tournament with a heartbreaking 35-34 loss to Mehlville. But Oakville head coach Kenny Ash knew his Tigers would have their hands full with any opponent in the District 5 tournament.

“When you look at the district, it was clear that Vianney and Lindbergh were better than the rest,” Ash told the Call. “We knew that from the three to the six seeds that anybody could beat anyone. You’ve got to give Mehlville some credit in that coach (Andy) Guethle and his kids wanted it more than we did.”

Oakville jumped out to a solid 13-5 lead after one quarter and held a 21-14 advantage at halftime. But the Tigers failed to put Mehlville away in the fourth quarter as the Panthers clawed their way back on a 14-6 run en route to the 35-34 win.

Oakville’s Brandon McCord led all scorers with 17 points and four rebounds.

The sophomore forward also recorded two assists and two blocked shots in the loss to Mehlville.

“Brandon had an explosion there where he had 15 of those 17 points in the first half,” Ash recalled. “What a big game for him to throw us on his shoulders in the first half.”

Next year looks promising for the Tigers because the team will not graduate a single senior this year. In fact, Oakville has four juniors, eight sophomores and one freshman on this year’s roster and an extra year of experience should pay dividends for next season.

“I will go out on a limb and say that we have the youngest team in 5A basketball this season,” Ash said. “But these kids won as freshmen, so we know that they have a winning attitude. We’ve got a lot to look forward to at Oakville in the next three to five years.”