In a battle between former conference rivals and current top 1A and 2A teams, it was the 2A team that prevailed on Tuesday as Oakland (6-0) beat North Douglas (6-1) 36-25 at North Douglas High School.
“Great learning experience about what it’s like to play an experienced, post-season bound team… I liked our toughness tonight, I liked our grit you know, we didn’t quit. A little offensively challenged organizationally, but you know those things will come,” said North Douglas head coach Jeff Davis.
From the start it was the Oakers defense that made life miserable for the Warriors who shot eight-of-43 (18.6%) from the field.
“Well, first of all you give them some credit. Good teams make you look bad,” said Davis.
Oakland jumped out to a 10-2 lead to start the game but it was the Warriors who battled back with a 6-0 run of their own to make it 10-8 early in the second quarter. But after early foul trouble sent Abby Whipple to the bench, Oakland capitalized on her absence and broke off a 12-3 run to go up 22-11 at the half.
“There’s no doubt that we gain confidence from Abby Whipple’s presence on the floor. So part of that learning curve is when [she’s not on the court], we have to rise. She’s not there, what are we going to do? That’s part of the process in basketball is finding those roles and who’s going to step up,” said Davis. Whipple led the team in points with 11 and also had seven rebounds.
The Warriors offensive woes continued but the game was even as both teams scored 14 points in the half. Oakland’s Grace Witten and Hadley Brooksby combined for 24 points and included eight points off turnovers for Witten.
Against a talented Oakland team, the Warriors were not able to press as they have done successfully against lesser opponents all season. Outside of Tuesday’s game, North Douglas has averaged 27.8 points off of turnovers this season – most of which are steals that turn into easy layups out of their press – but against Oakland had just eight.
“The difficult thing for us is the yo-yo of competition in our schedule,” said Davis whose team faced a winless Triangle Lake team before and after facing the Oakers. “You go play last weekend, and no disrespect, and so there are things that happen here that you can’t necessarily duplicate in practice. We may not get it until who knows when.”