WEST POINT — One glaring difference was obvious between the Oak Hill and North Delta girls basketball teams on Tuesday night in West Point.
The Raiders’ press gave the Green Wave all kinds of problems right from the start, while the Raiders just didn’t have any serious problems fending off the Green Wave’s attempts at pressure, with predictable results.
Junior Mary Beth Briggs (22) and senior Dovie Suggs (18) combined for 40 points as Oak Hill took control during the first half and rolled to a 66-38 win over North Delta in an MAIS Class 4A District 1 game.
“We’ve got long arms, and we’ve got to put those to good use,” Oak Hill assistant coach Christi Dubois said of the Raiders’ press. “They’re really good at being aggressive and not fouling.”
Dubois was running the Raiders because head coach Terry Walters learned Saturday he has COVID. Dubois, in the sixth season of her second stint with the Raiders, had a couple of days to prepare for the Green Wave and put them to good use.
“I got to do a lot more prep for them, watching film, that kind of thing, so we knew what to expect from them,” she said. “They are a really good ball club, and they didn’t show us what they usually show people.
“Every single one of their girls can shoot 3s. When they get hot, they are hot, and we kept them from doing that.”
A lot of that was because the Raiders kept the Green Wave from getting the ball past midcourt. The Oak Hill press caused problems from the start, forcing turnovers on three consecutive possessions and five overall during the first 4 minutes of the game.
Then the offense took over, as the Raiders went on a 19-6 run that bridged the first and second quarters. By halftime, the lead was 34-17, but Dubois wasn’t taking any chances.
“When we came out for the second half, I said if they get on a run, in a minute they’ll be back in this ball game,” she said.
The Raiders got the message.
While North Delta finally hit a 3-pointer during the third quarter — Libby Miller hit the Green Wave’s only two 3s of the game during that period — little else went right for the visitors. Each time they would make a slight dent in the lead, the Raiders would put back-to-back baskets, or more, together and pull away again.
What helped keep the lead comfortable was free throw shooting. After making just 3 of 8 from the line during the first half, Oak Hill was sharp after intermission, nailing 7 of 8 during the third quarter and 5 of 6 during the fourth. North Delta made just 5 of 13 from the line.
The Green Wave were held to single digits in points for three of the four quarters and never scored more than 5 consecutive points.
“We did all the things we needed to do to take care of business,” Dubois said. “They have really been focused this year.”
She credits the seniors for “showing leadership in different ways” while always being “super-positive.” But she stressed the entire roster brings a healthy attitude to the game.
“They are OK if somebody else scores and they don’t,” Dubois said. “They’re not selfish. They all know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and they use them in very smart ways.”
Kate Wheeler and Morgan Dabbs scored 8 points apiece for Oak Hill.
The Raiders will have one last break from district play Thursday when they travel to Hebron Christian before beginning a regular season-ending stretch of six consecutive district games Friday at Rossville Christian.
Columbus Christian 41, Kemper 39: Carrie Kinard scored 14 points as the Rams won in the final seconds.
Faith Yeates netted 9 points for CCA (8-2), while Satavia Watkins added 8 and Ada Farlow 7.
Pickens 41, North River Christian 10: Kate Wilkins scored 19 points as the Pirates improved to 9-5.
Lizze Noland finished with 9 points for Pickens, which will be back in action Jan. 11 with a home game against Tuscaloosa Christian.
West Lowndes 44, Choctaw County 27: The Panthers snapped a seven-game losing streak with a road win.
West Lowndes, which had won last Nov. 27 against Columbus Christian, is 2-9. The Chargers fell to 3-10.
Mooreville 55, Caledonia 33: The Cavaliers fell to 0-4 in Class 4A Region 1 with a road loss to the Troopers (12-5, 3-1). Caledonia is 4-11 overall.