The Harriman Christmas Classic continued Friday with girls’ basketball in game 2, where Mt. Pisgah Christian (9-3) defeated the Oakdale Eagles (4-7) 47-42.
Oakdale senior Hunter Bailey was scratched from Oakdale’s lineup for illness, so the Eagles were heavily dependent on juniors Jacey Bingham and Jayla show to fill that void on the court Friday.
Eagles’ head coach Fred Snow acknowledged that Bailey being out changed Oakdale’s approach in this game.
“We’ve had a lot of sickness running through the team, so our substitution patterns are kind of messed up,” he said of the difference in game tempo his team had without Bailey in the lineup.
Oakdale senior Chloe Hamby attacked the rim early and often, and her aggressiveness got her to the foul line early in the first quarter, as the Eagles’s were able to use their size and speed to establish themselves inside the paint.
Mt. Pisgah turned the ball over twice on its first two offensive efforts, but after a timeout to develop a new gameplan, the team retook the court and scored on back-to-back possessions with 2 three pointers, to close the first quarter with a 10-10 tie.
In the second quarter, Mt. Pisgah switched to a press, but Oakdale senior point guard Rhylan Hicks drove right through the effort to trap at half-court that although kept her from scoring in the second, allowed her to distribute the ball to her other teammates for scores, as Jacey Bingham, Rilee Goodson, Chole Hamby, and Jayla Shaw all landed one shot in the quarter.
“Rhylan (Hicks) as the point guard, everything starts with her, but (she) is a good three-point shooter and she’s good at taking the ball to the basket,” Smith said of Hicks’ role in the offense.
As the third quarter opened, Hamby again brought the intensity inside, but as the quarter closed, her 8 points she had scored to that point would be all she would manage the rest of the game, as in the final quarter, Mt. Pisgah adjusted to keep her contained and force the ball back into the hands of Goodson and Hicks.
All 15 of the Eagles’ fourth quarter points came from Goodson and Hicks, with Hicks driving inside on back-to-back possessions, scoring inside during transition on the first shot, and getting to the line for free throws on the next drive.
Mt. Pisgah’s full court press did not take Oakdale off guard, and it only served to accelerate the Eagles’ offense early in the fourth quarter.
“I knew that they did that particular press on occasion, and we had seen, probably half the teams we have played have pressed, so it’s something we work on quite a bit and try to be prepared for.”
Despite their efforts to take the game back, Oakdale ultimately fell short by 5 points as the buzzer sounded, but the Eagles’ performance without a key starter positions them to be contenders for the 1A- District 4 title, and as regional play continues into January, the return of Bailey will reestablish them as a team that can compete with anyone.
Follow Justin Braden on X @jkbradenco for more prep sports coverage and an opportunity to comment on this article and others. Criticism and feedback of the media improve the quality of coverage given to student-athletes in east Tennessee.
Mt. Pisgah 10 13 10 14 - 47
Oakdale 10 8 9 15 - 42
Mt. Pisgah (9-3):
Jesalyn Howard 16, Kaylynn Walls 12, Jerra Jones 6
Rilee Goodson 16, Rhylan Hicks 12, Chloe Hamby 8
Copyright © 2023. Bradenco Broadcasting.