WAVERLY - The Oak Hill Oaks traveled to the storied "Downtown Gymnasium" in Waverly for a crucial SOC Division II matchup against the Tigers.
The two longtime rivals battled back-and-forth from start to finish, and when it was said and done, the Oaks claimed a hard-fought 65-60 victory.
Oak Hill remains undefeated on the season, improving 11-0 overall and 8-0 in SOC Division II play, while Waverly dropped to 9-2, 6-2.
Oak Hill head coach Norm Persin had mixed feelings about the victory.
"I thought we played possibly our worst defensive game of the year, but you have to give Waverly a lot of credit for the way they played," he said. "We knew coming over here that it was going to be tough to win because this is a very good ballclub that plays everyone tough in this venue."
Oak Hill never trailed in the contest, but the Tigers remained close throughout.
The Tigers did fall behind by 11 points (37-26) three minutes into the third quarter. However, by the start of the fourth stanza they did draw even at 44.
The Oaks scored the first five points of the contest while keeping the Tigers off the board until Clayton Howell hit a three with 5:34. The score fluctuated between three and five points before Oak Hill got back-to-back layups from Nolan Carroll to lead 17-12 after the first eight minutes.
In the second stanza, both teams traded baskets, as the Oaks outscored Waverly 12-10 to lead 29-22 going into halftime.
Oak Hill had the better offensive output in the first two quarters, as it made 12 of 21 field-goal attempts for 57 percent. Waverly shot just 29 percent (5 of 17). However, the Tigers were able to remain close by making 10 of 14 attempts from the free throw line.
Just like the second quarter, both two teams battled basket-for-basket. Waverly was 7 of 10 from the field, while Oak Hill made 6 of 14 and led 44-41 heading into the final eight minutes play.
Clayton Howell tied the game with a three-pointer to begin the fourth quarter. However, Mason Darby responded with a basket and free throw and Mitchell Hale hit back-to-back three-pointers to push the Oaks to a 53-46 advantage.
Howell made a pair of free throws following a layup by Cobe Marquez to close the margin to 53-50 before Hale pushed Oak Hill's lead to six after a three-point play with 4:11 left.
Easton Wolf scored on a layup at the 3:46 mark making it 56-52, but Oak Hill made 8 of 8 free throw attempts to extend its lead to 62-52 with just over half a minute to play. Waverley hit two three-pointers over a span of 11 seconds, but they came too little too late as Oak Hill held on for the victory.
Oak Hill placed four players in double figures, as Landon Carroll scored 19 points to lead the Oaks. Chase Hammond and Hale each scored 12 points, while Mason Darby chipped in with 11 points. Seven different Tigers reached the scoring column, led by Howell and Wolf with 19 and 10 points respectively.
The Oaks are scheduled to take on Warren JFK in Canton on Sunday and will travel to Wellston on Tuesday. The Oak Hill, Valley basketball game scheduled on Friday was postponed. The game is rescheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 13.