The Phoenix flew past the Wellington Dukes to a 63-54 final Friday in their home opener.
Junior Donald Johnson led the Oberlin varsity boys basketball team with 26 points on the night and senior Caleb Hughley added 19 points.
Johnson also added on 15 rebounds and five blocks to help his team secure the win.
“Donald and Caleb played extremely well,” said head coach Kurt Russell. “I thought they played really hard on the offensive end.”
The ninth-year head coach thought the whole team had a great game on the defensive side of the ball. “It was a team effort,” Russell said. “David Payne’s passing and assists really set the tone early in the game.”
The boys held a steady 34-23 lead going into halftime with an uptempo pace and high pressure on the ball.
Russell said his players aren’t as tall as those on most opposing rosters, so quickness is key. “Every team is bigger than us,” he said.
The Phoenix are gaining confidence as the season ramps up. Russell attributes much of that to a previous victory over Brookside.
Oberlin will face the Keystone Wildcats and Firelands Falcons this week. Both are expected to be tough games.
“All of these games are really tough,” the veteran coach said. “Each game you go into is going to be a battle.”
To prepare, he wants his team to work on fast breaks, putting pressure on the ball, and boxing out. The OHS boys need to execute better with tougher opponents slated as the season progresses, he said.
The Phoenix improved to 2-1 on the season and 1-0 in the Patriot Athletic Conference.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.
Photos by Russ Gifford | Oberlin News-Tribune Oberlin’s Caleb Hughley shoots a three-pointer over Wellington’s Colton Schmidt.