Oakville High boys extend winning streak to four with 49-45 victory over Jennings

By STEPHEN GLOVER

The Oakville Senior High School boys’ basketball team extended its winning streak to four games Saturday afternoon with a 49-45 victory at Jennings.

“I told the guys that you’re going to have to come out and be ready to play, and the boys played really well in the first half,” Oakville head coach Nick Traxler said. “We survived a 22-7 run in the third quarter and just held on from there.”

The Tigers (18-6, 6-1 Suburban West) jumped out to a 13-4 lead after one quarter and extended their lead to 24-9 over the Warriors (15-8, 3-1 Suburban East) by half-time. But Jennings stormed back in the third quarter led by De’Shaun Cooper in a 22-7 run to tie the score at 31-31.

Keith Pickens led Oakville with 18 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots. The senior guard is averaging 14.6 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

“Keith came ready to play in the first half and actually blocked four shots in the first half,” Traxler said. “We threw him up an alley-oop in the first quarter and he just destroyed the rim. That really got everyone riled up.”

Oakville sophomore guard Javier Duren also scored in double figures with 13 points, five assists and three steals.

Duren is averaging 10.7 points and four assists per game and hit four key free throws in the fourth quarter to stave off a Jennings comeback.

“Javier hit four big free throws in a row when we needed them in the fourth quarter,” Traxler said. “He’s been so consistent throughout the season and the thing is that he’s only a sophomore.”

Traxler also was pleased with the play of senior Pariece McKinney and junior Torraino Hellems.

“Since transferring in from Texas, Pariece has stepped on the floor as if he’s been playing all along for us,” Traxler said. “Torraino is a shut-down-the-defense kind of guy on their guards. I thought that they played outstanding defense.”

The Tigers are back in action at 7 p.m. Friday when they play host to Kirkwood (13-10, 5-2 Suburban West) for Senior Night. Should Oakville win Friday and Lafayette lose to Parkway South, the Tigers could tie with both Lafayette and Parkway South for the conference championship.

Kirkwood is coming off a 66-58 victory at Mehlville Friday night for its third win in a row.

“Coach (Bill) Gunn will definitely have his boys ready to play,” Traxler said. “If we can win that game, then we have a chance to tie for the conference championship.”