BY CHAD DARE email@example.com
---- — DANVILLE – The Oakwood Comets were in a position to beat the top-seeded Bismarck-Henning Blue Devils earlier this week, but they didn’t finish strong enough.
In the fifth-place game of the Vermilion County Tournament against the Georgetown-Ridge Farm Buffaloes on Saturday, Oakwood went on a 18-3 run in the final eight minutes to secure a 48-30 victory.
“I’m excited because this is the team that I’ve wanted to see — a team that can finish ballgames,’’ Oakwood coach Doug Robinson said. “We’ve had a rough go of it recently, losing a close one to Salt Fork and losing an even closer one to Bismarck.
“They fought hard even when things weren’t going our way.’’
According to Oakwood junior Landon Turner, the turning point for the Comets was a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by senior Brian Rice at the end of the third quarter giving Oakwood a 30-27 lead
Turner then got a layup and a 3-pointer as part of the Comets 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter.
“We picked up the intensity a lot in that fourth quarter,’’ Turner said. “When Brian hit that buzzer-beating 3-pointer, it really motivated us for the fourth quarter.
“We just had a slow start in this game and we really struggled offensively, turning the ball over a lot.’’
According to Robinson, it was about time that Turner came up with a few big baskets.
“He is a kid that will do anything you say, without question,’’ Robinson said. “He works hard and he gets results. He gave us a spark, especially with that big 3-pointer. I’m really proud of him.’’
Turner acknowledged the coaches have been suggesting to him to shoot more in the games.
“I just took the shot when it was there and I made it,’’ he said.
That was something that Georgetown-Ridge Farm wasn’t able to do very much in the second half.
The Buffaloes were just 1-of-9 from the field in the fourth quarter and they were 3-of-20 in the second half.
“We didn’t finish,’’ Georgetown-Ridge Farm coach Adam Latoz said. “We missed a couple of easy layups and offensively, we settled for the 3-pointers too much.
“We didn’t have good enough ball movement to get the ball inside.’’
While ball movement was a problem for Georgetown-Ridge Farm, it was the strength on Saturday for Oakwood.
The Comets didn’t have a player in double digits, but they had seven players with five or more. Skyler Slade, a 6-foot-2 center, led Oakwood with nine points, he also had three of his team’s 11 assists.
“That’s one thing that we’ve been talking about, if we move the ball and we share the ball, they have to respect all of us,’’ Robinson said. “If we got one guy scoring all of the points, they only have to shut down one guy.’’
Other leading scorers for Oakwood were Lee Mascari (8), Parker Lee (7), Kyle Girton (7) and Jeremy Watson (7). Lee was selected for the all-tournament team.
Rylee Goodwin was the only player in double figures for either team with a game-high 14 points, while Dylan Bina had seven points and seven rebounds. Goodwin was as an all-tournament selection.