RISING UP- OFA Senior forward Chris Backa scored 15 points in a 47-31 win over Presbyterian Christian on Tuesday, January 30. Photo by Matthew Roy.
By Jesse Brooks
Despite experiencing back-to-back losses to Jackson Prep and Columbia Academy last weekend, the Oak Forest Academy boys basketball team started this week off with two consecutive wins. With an overall record of 16-7, the Yellow Jackets have their sights set on building momentum for a postseason run.
“We have had to change a good bit within our system offensively and also defensively the last 6 games, but the guys are still playing hard,” said OFA Coach Curtis Matherne. “Our approach at the end is to be the most prepared, the hardest working, and play with the most togetherness. We preach the small things all year, now is to time to make sure every slightest detail is performed and not forgotten.”
Matherne admits that the Jackets’ win ratio is not as consistent as earlier in the season, but says that his players are working extremely hard against tough competition as they are near the end of the MAIS AAAA Div. 1 schedule. He praised their ball movement and the fact that some players are contributing more now that their confidence is up.
One such player that seems to have been awarded the green light is freshman guard Jaden Collura who has seen an increased role off the bench this January. On Tuesday, January 23, Collura scored a season high 22 points in a 57-47 road victory over Parklane Academy in McComb, Mississippi. Senior guard Janero Porter also contributed 16 points in the Parklane win.
THE NEW SURGE- Freshman guard Jaden Collura have given OFA a major lift in outside shooting. He scored 22 point in a 57-47 win over Parklane Academy on January 23. Photo by Matthew Roy.
Collura also led the Jackets with 17 points in their 56-33 win over Bowling Green on Monday, January 29. Collura, Carter Blanchard and Jon Jovi all knocked down 3-pointers to build a commanding 28-12 lead with about five minutes remaining in the first half against Bowling Green. OFA led by 36-14 after senior forward Chris Backa hit a shot from beyond the arc with 30 seconds before the intermission. Backa also looked strong on the boards and scoring in the lane as he totaled 11 points. Porter also contributed 11 points in the win.
“We will continue to look to find places in games to pressure and play fast paced, but also slow it down and grind it out when needed,” Matherne said.
OFA brought that mindset into a conference game with Presbyterian Christian at home on Tuesday, January 30, and the Jackets pulled off a 47-31 victory. Porter led the Jackets with 16 points, and Backa was second in command with 15 points.
OFA will hit the road on Friday to take on Madison-Ridgeland Academy for their last conference game in Madison, Mississippi. Tipoff will take place around 7 p.m.