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Blair Oaks dominates inside to finish off Versailles

Blair Oaks dominates inside to finish off Versailles

January 11th, 2019 by Jason Strickland in Sports Prep

Eric Northweather of Blair Oaks starts a move against the defense of Quinn Randall of Versailles during Thursday night's game in Wardsville.

Photo by Mark Wilson /News Tribune.

WARDSVILLE — Versailles brought an explosive scoring duo of guards to Blair Oaks on Thursday night. But it was the Falcons' duo of bigs that proved to be too tall a task for the Tigers.

"We knew we had a size advantage and we did a good job of using that advantage by getting the ball to where we needed to," Blair Oaks coach Ryan Fick said following an 84-63 win. "Eric (Northweather) and Dru (Rackers) did a nice job around the rim finishing."

The Tigers scored the game's first five points, but their lead was gone in just a couple minutes.

Northweather stole the ball away with a full-court press and got the ball to Nolan Hair, who bounced the ball off the backboard for Northweather to soar in for the thunderous two-handed dunk at the 4:48 mark of the opening quarter. That closed an 11-1 run and the Falcons only trailed once more the rest of the way.

Versailles took a 14-13 advantage after a Dylan Spicer basket with 2:20 on the clock.

David Dell then found his stroke from deep with a pair of 3-pointers as part of a 10-1 run to close out the quarter.

The Falcons made six 3s in the first half.

"Guards knocked some shots down, especially early," Fick said. "And I thought our ball movement was good offensively."

Trent Martin knocked down a pair of 3s in the second quarter, while Dell added his third of the game in the final minute of the first half to lead 48-26 at halftime.

Then Rackers and Northweather took over.

The pair combined to score Blair Oaks' final nine points of the third quarter and Northweather scored 16 of Blair Oaks first 18 points of the fourth quarter.

Northweather finished with 26 points and nine rebounds. Rackers added 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting.

"Dru did such a good job of sealing in the post and we had guys finding Dru and Dru made quick moves to the basket to score tonight before the help came," Fick said. "That's something Dru has improved on a ton over the course of the year."

Braydan Pritchett wasn't far behind Northweather in rebounds with eight to go with 11 points.

"He really rebounded the ball well tonight," Fick said. "He created a lot of second-chance opportunities for us. W'ere starting to see him really get into that basketball mode after having a successful long football season."

Espinosa scored a game-high 27 points for Versailles (7-6, 0-1 Tri-County), making 5-of-7 from 3-point range.

"He's really good off the dribble and if you give him a step he shoots it well," Fick said.

Coby Williams added 16 points with drives to the basket.

"I thought they had us back on our heels quite a bit defensively off their dribble-drive," Fick said. "I wanted our guys to dig in and guard. I didn't want to go to a zone because I wanted us to have to guard."

Blair Oaks (9-5, 3-0 Tri-County) is back in action Tuesday at the St. James Tournament. The third-seeded Falcons will face sixth-seeded St. James at 6 p.m.

Blair Oaks defeated Versailles 71-23 in the JV game. Quinn Kusgen and Anthony Davis each scored 14 points to lead Blair Oaks (9-1). Luke Northweather scored 12 points and Jake Closser added 10.

The JV team is off until Jan. 22 when the Falcons host Southern Boone for a varsity-JV-freshman tripleheader.

The Blair Oaks freshman team won 54-35 to improve to 7-4. Zach Herigon led the Falcons with 19 points, while Brayden Lehmen scored 13.

The Blair Oaks freshman team will host St. James at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the middle school.