Defeated in close calls by Ashland and Lake Erie
By Kevin Schrock
After 12 straight wins the Oilers finally hit a roadblock last week. They lost a heartbreaker at Ashland on Thursday, Feb. 11, before losing an overtime battle with Lake Erie two days later.
Still there is no concern for the Oilers. In an up and down league they know that they are still one of the best teams.
“I wouldn’t say we had a total collapse,” said coach Charlie Ernst. “Sometimes games come down to the final minute and both of our last two games did and our opponent just made one more play than we did.”
On Saturday the Oilers held a 65-60 lead with under 30 seconds left to play. It took a pair of Lake Erie free throws, and an Oiler turnover to let the Storm back in the game. With less than 20 seconds left the Storm missed a three-pointer to tie but after they grabbed the offensive board they tossed it back out and drilled the game tying triple with 12 seconds to play and eventually send it to overtime at 65-65.
“We needed to win that game in regulation,” said Ernst. “I don’t read a lot into the overtime. We didn’t play well but when we look back at that game our opportunity to win that game was before overtime even arrived.”
Overtime went about as badly as it could have for Findlay. The Storm rattled off 12 points before the Oilers even scored. Finally, with 1:19 left in the overtime the Oilers got a basket from Ricardo Smith but the game was already decided.
“They had carried a significant amount of energy into overtime,” said Ernst. “Just getting the game to overtime was a big feat for them and then of course their crowd was really into the game during overtime.”
The Oilers ended the game by getting outscored 21-2 in the final five and a half minutes going back to regulation.
In the two games prior the Oilers had averaged 94.5 points while Ashland and Lake Erie held them to 67 and 64 respectively. Still, there is not too much concern about the quick striking offense of the Oilers.
“We’re not really concerned about our offense,” said Ernst. “A bigger concern for us is to find other ways to win when you have nights that you don’t shoot it well.”
The Oilers leading scorer on Saturday was John Staley who finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds for another double-double. Martyce Kimbrough, Dylan Kaufman, and Taren Sullivan all added 11 points for the Oilers.
Findlay now finds themselves third in the conference standings and one game away from Ashland who leads the South Division with a 15-4 conference record.
The Oilers will travel to Walsh on Thursday to take on the Cavalier before coming back home Saturday to battle the Malone Pioneers. The season finale then takes place at Wayne State the following Thursday.