Oakville High boys defeat Howell Central 53-45

By STEPHEN GLOVER

The Oakville Senior High School boys’ basketball team has been on the road for the first 13 games of the season.

In fact, the Tiger’s have spent the last 47 days away from their home court. So when it came time to play Francis Howell Central at home Friday, Oakville head coach Nick Traxler made it clear to his players how important it was to take advantage of the situation.

“This was a really big game for us,” Traxler told the Call. “It was our home opener, so we wanted to show our fans that we’re going to put a good quality product on the court.”

The Tigers (8-6, 1-1 Suburban West) did not fail to please the home crowd with a 53-45 win over the Spartans. Oakville fell behind 10-8 after the first quarter before trimming Howell Central’s lead by one point — 19-18 — at halftime.

“I think that the greatest difference for us was that we didn’t get the ball to our big men in the middle,” Traxler said. “That’s our bread and butter.”

The Tigers then changed their game plan and outscored the Spartans 35-26.

Senior Anthony Alexander racked up 14 points and four rebounds in the win. The starting center also recorded two assists and nailed five of eight shots from the free-throw line.

“We look to Anthony a lot for leadership,” Traxler said. “We rely on him heavily to do a lot of things and I’ve been really proud of what he’s been able to do for us.”

Oakville’s Justin Schoemehl also had a solid evening with a nine-point effort that included six rebounds.

The starting junior forward added on to his nine-point showing with one steal, one assist and one blocked shot.

“Justin can do a lot of things on the court for us,” Traxler said. “He’s starting to understand that he can take over a game on both ends of the floor.”

Oakville is back at home at 7 p.m. Friday for a conference battle against Fox. The Warriors (2-13, 0-4 Suburban West) have struggled most of the season, but that does not reduce the importance to the Tigers.

“This is a big game for us because they (Fox) are in our district. It’s a conference game and it’s in our house,” Traxler said.