Junior Jacket shooting guard La’Vell Scott scored 25 points in the 58-57 overtime win over Jackson Academy at home. Photo by Jesse Brooks.
By Jesse Brooks
After experiencing their first loss of the season to conference opponent Jackson Prep last week, Oak Forest Academy boys basketball bounced back by picking up consecutive wins before the team takes off for the holiday break.
The Yellow Jackets are now 10-1 overall following an overtime win over Jackson Academy 58-57 on Thursday, December 21, and a 64-35 road contest with Centreville Academy on Friday, December 22.
“Winning these two before break was huge, we believe,” said OFA Coach Curtis Matherne. “The guys’ confidence is back after winning these two when they were down about losing to Prep. We’re glad to end the first half of our schedule on a positive note.”
In the battle with conference opponent Jackson Academy, OFA ended the first quarter with a 10-6 lead by sharing the ball on offense. Tucker Miller and Carter Blanchard combined to score the first six Jacket points of the night as a result of team ball movement. OFA built on an early lead as Forwards Chris Backa and Braxten McGovern hit back-to-back buckets to go up 14-7 at the 6:44 mark in the second quarter.
OFA ended the first half on a 10-5 run with junior shooting guard La’Vell Scott earning all of the Jacket points during the stretch. OFA would lead 24-14 at the half.
The Raiders opened the second half on 12-3 run to tie the game for the first time at 27-27. Scott ended the Jackets’ drought with a 3-pointer, but the Raiders returned a make from beyond the arc of their own to hold a 33-30 lead with 1:40 remaining in the third quarter.
Going into the final period, OFA would find themselves down 34-30.
Setting the tone by making a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter, senior point guard Janero Porter kept things calm as the two teams continued to trade late leads.
“Janero Porter is one of the best pure point guards I’ve seen,” Matherne said. “His energy on defense, basketball IQ and getting teammates involved…he’s having an absolute monster senior year.”
Porter, who scored 16 points total, made his last nine consecutive free throw attempts, including two that cut JA’s lead to 48-46 with :11.5 left to play. The Jackets would force a turnover on the next possession, and a goaltending call on Scott’s layup forced overtime with both teams tied at 48-48.
Running out of time and trailing, Blanchard scored on a put back to move OFA closer, down 57-56 with :23.6 left in overtime. After the Raiders inbounded, Porter made a steal, missed the layup but Scott was fouled on the clean up attempt. Scott’s two free throws would result in the 58-57 winning score, and bring his personal total up to 25 points.
The next night on the road, Porter led the Jackets with 12 points against Centreville. Scott also had 11 points while Jon Jovi chipped in 10.
OFA returns to action on with back-to-back home games starting Thursday, January 4 against Adams County, and conference opponent Madison-Ridgeland Academy on January 5.