Demon White pumped in six of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as Oak Grove prevailed over St. Frederick, 49-41, Thursday night.
Oak Grove moved to 6-2 overall — 3-0 in District 2-1A — while the Warriors dropped to 16-2, 2-1.
With the score knotted at 25, the Tigers closed out the third period with a 7-2 run, and never surrendered the lead.
Taevon Anderson made both ends of a shooting foul, then set up Dalton Allen’s layup with a clever over-the-shoulder pass with his back to the basket. Seth Brown’s breakaway layup drew the visitors within 29-27, but Jackson Ross drained a 3-pointer from the left wing to give the Tigers a 32-27 edge heading into the final eight minutes.
Denterrius McHenry aced a two-shot foul to bring the Warriors within 32-29, but the Tigers separated from there.
“To me, the biggest difference in the game was we did not shoot free throws well, and they did,” said St. Fred coach Terry Waldrop, whose team made only half of its 12 free throws.
Oak Grove didn’t shoot particularly well from the charity stripe, either (8-of-15), but the Tigers sank 7-of-8 free throws during a pivotal four and a half-minute stretch in the second half.
With the Tigers in the one-and-one, Otis Moore and Bud Holloway combined to convert 3-of-4 free throws to trigger a 7-0 spurt. Anderson then navigated his way through the lane for a layup to put the Tigers up 37-29.
Two possessions later, Anderson blocked a layup on the defensive end, leading to Allen’s transition basket and a 39-29 spread with 5:17 to play.
“We didn’t do what we have to do to win a district game between two good teams,” Waldrop said. “We didn’t finish the way we have been finishing, and expect to finish. Give Oak Grove and (coach) Josh Bradley credit. They have a good tradition, they have some great athletes and they are well-coached.”
Oak Grove went up by as many as 12 (47-35) with 1:27 remaining on back-to-back buckets from the paint by White.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Pat Johnson reduced the deficit to 47-41 with 12 seconds remaining, but the damage had been done.
“We tried to steal one on the road,” Waldrop said. “I thought we were evenly-matched for the most part. They got a couple of easy baskets, and made some free throws. I thought that was the difference in the separation of the game. We missed a lot of free throws, they got a bucket at the end, and we still only lost by eight. We just have to get better.”
Johnson’s 3-pointer in the final minute of the first quarter gave the Warriors their only lead, 9-8. Allen’s free toss tied the game at 9 at the end of the frame.
White’s one-handed throwdown on the break gave Oak Grove its biggest lead of the half, 21-15, before McHenry’s driving layup closed the gap to 21-17 at intermission.
McHenry’s deep deuce from the right corner tied the game for the eighth and final time, 25-25, with under three minutes to play in the third period.
White scored eight points in each half, and Anderson added 11 for the Tigers. Oak Grove held a 7-0 edge in bench scoring, compliments of seven points from Ross.
McHenry was high scorer for the Warriors with 16, followed by Johnson with 12 — all on three-pointers.
Both teams return to the floor with Saturday home games — Tensas vs. St. Fred at 3:30 p.m.; Cedar Creek vs. Oak Grove at 7:30 p.m.
St. Frederick ….. 9 8 10 14—41
Oak Grove …….. 9 12 11 17—49
ST. FREDERICK (16-2, 2-1) — Denterrius McHenry 16, Pat Johnson 12, Howard Taylor 8, Seth Brown 5.
OAK GROVE (6-2, 3-0) — Demon White 16, Taevon Anderson 11, Jackson Ross 7, Bud Holloway 6, Dalton Allen 5, Otis Moore 4.
Three-point goals — St. Frederick 5 (Johnson 4, Brown 1), Oak Grove 3 (Moore, Anderson, Ross). Total fouls — St. Frederick 15, Oak Grove 12. Free throw shooting — St. Frederick 6-12, Oak Grove 8-15. Fouled out — Howard (0:22.7, 4th). Technicals — none.