More than 20 turnovers cost the Phoenix a Senior Night win Tuesday and first place in the Patriot Athletic Conference Stripes Division.
The boys dropped a 62-54 loss to the Clearview Clippers.
Oberlin stunned Clearview early in the game with its fast tempo and back-to-back three pointers.
The Phoenix continued to move the ball quickly across the court, causing confusion for the Clippers defense, but turnovers in the first period allowed Clearview to cut the deficit to 20-15.
A six-point run early in the second quarter gave Oberlin a 28-19 lead and the boys held Clearview to five points in the first five minutes.
The Clippers were able to squeeze out five more points and Clearview’s Lance Billings tried to finish a shot before halftime but was blocked by Oberlin’s Donald Johnson, who had three blocks in the first half.
Oberlin head coach Kurt Russell said he thought his team played great in the first two quarters.
Fouls and defensive breakdowns by the Phoenix allowed the Clippers to pull within one point in the first two minutes of the second half.
Clearview out-hustled Oberlin in the paint and did not allow the boys a single rebound. “I think the second half was a little passive and they got to us,” Russell said.
Deuce Martin sank a three pointer to give the Clippers a 42-39 lead with two minutes to play in the third and the game was tied at 44 going into the fourth quarter.
Teams matched each other shot-for-shot until Clearview squeezed out a four-point lead in the final three minutes. Oberlin could not close the gap on Clearview in the final minute and the Clippers secured the win and the top spot in the division.
“I think Clearview played a heck of a game,” Russell said. “It seemed as though they wanted it more, they were crashing the boards and playing well and aggressively.”
He said every time his team plays the Clippers the boys turn the ball over more than normal. “You can’t win a game like that,” Russell said. “It got to us a little bit tonight.”
Zion Hicks led the Phoenix with 18 points on the night and Clearview’s Deuce Martin led his team with 13.
Russell said his team will return to the drawing board and fix its errors. “We still have a chance for conference,” he said.
Clearview improved to 12-3 and Oberlin fell to 11-4 in the conference. However, both teams have a conference match Friday so if the Clippers lose and the Phoenix win, the teams will draw even.
The Phoenix will travel to Lutheran West to face the Longhorns at 7:30 p.m. Friday and the Clippers will play the Warriors at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Fairview.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.
Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune
Senior Malik Aguiniga