Oakville rings in new year with win

Tigers slated to face Howell Central Friday night

By STEPHEN GLOVER

The Oakville Senior High School boys’ basketball team rang in the new year with a commanding 70-60 win at home over Rockwood Summit.

Until the Jan. 3 victory, Oakville had suffered through a five-game losing streak since defeating Mehlville 65-45 Dec. 7.

“It’s always good to get a win to start out the new year,” Tiger head coach Nick Traxler said. “I thought we did a much better job controlling the ball against Summit.”

The Tigers (3-7, 1-1 Suburban West) jumped out to a 19-10 lead after one quarter and held on to a 25-23 advantage at halftime. But it was a 16-7 run in the third quarter that pushed Oakville’s lead to 41-30 before settling in for the 70-60 win.

Oakville’s Keith Pickens led all scorers with 24 points and 10 rebounds. The junior guard added on one steal and one assist for the team’s best individual offensive performance of the season.

“Keith’s a very athletic player that’s really starting to come into his own,” Traxler said. “We made him a captain a couple of weeks ago and I think he really likes having that responsibility on the team.”

John Alexander racked up 13 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Alexander also had four steals and one blocked shot as the senior forward is averaging 15.4 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.

“John’s just a rock-steady player,” Traxler said. “We knew going into the season that he was going to play big minutes for us and he’s lived up to those expectations. He’s turned into a tremendous asset to our squad.”

Jeremy Booker and Javier Duren each scored 11 points with Duren leading the Tigers with seven assists.

“Javier is our freshman point guard that ended up with seven assists and seven turnovers, but you’re going to get that at times with a freshman,” Traxler said. “But he settled down in the second half and did a great job at running the game for us.”

Booker added to his 11 points with six rebounds, two assists and one steal.

“This is the first year that Jeremy’s played varsity basketball,” Traxler said. “He’s a kid that was cut as a freshman and only played a half of a season as a sophomore. He’s refused to take no for an answer and we’re really happy with how he’s been playing.”

The Tigers are back in action at 7 p.m. Friday when they face Francis Howell Central in a non-conference game. At press time, the Spartans (5-7, 0-1 Gateway Athletic Conference) had lost their last two games.