By Dylan DeWitt
The stands were once again packed for another Croy classic. The Findlay Oilers Basketball Team faced the Fairmont St. Falcons, and it was a battle to the finish.
The team played back-and-forth basketball against a Fairmont St. team who made it to the 2017 National Championship Game last year. The game went to the final buzzer with a defensive stance by the Oilers, and a free throw to seal the victory after a forty-minute battle filled with momentum and intense emotion.
Coming into the contest, the Oilers have compiled two great victories against nationally ranked teams, Indiana PA., and St. Thomas Aquinas at the Hall of Fame Classic in Evansville, IN. With the team morale eager to play at home, the Oilers were prepared for the Fairmont St. team coming into town. It showed quickly in the first two minutes of the game when the Oilers were executing on both offense and defense with control of the game. The Battle in Croy had quickly begun as you heard the loud cheers from the Findlay fans.
The first half was a battle for momentum with both teams matching equal intensity. After nine minutes through the first half, the game was all tied up at 21-21, and with just over a minute left in the half, the game would still be tied at 44-44.
Neither team was giving much room for either one of their opponents to get too much of a lead. However, Elijah Kahlig would help bring momentum to the Oilers` locker room just before the half concluded as he finished on a 5-0 run with a pair of free throws and a transition three pointer. The Oilers were up 49-44 after the first half.
The second half picked up right where the rest of the game had been. Intense from the first few seconds with players diving after loose balls and playing aggressive defense. However, the scoring had stalled for a short while until a Martyce Kimbrough-three would get the scoring going once more. With nine minutes left in the game, the Oilers had gained a 69-61 lead. However, Fairmont St. would not go without a fight as they went on a run to close the gap to three points making the game 69-66.
The final seconds came down to the wire with Findlay up by one, 83-82 and Fairmont St. having the possession of the ball. Fairmont St. point guard drove to the hole only to lose possession of the ball. However, another player on the court for the Falcons scooped it up, and attempted a shot over Alex White. The shot just missed off the rim, and into the hands of Taren Sullivan it went.
With 1.3 seconds left, Sullivan was sent to the free throw line for a one and one opportunity. He made the first to go up two, and missed the second intentionally as the Falcons did not have any timeouts left. The Oilers were victorious and moved to 3-0 after the victory against a very competitive team in Fairmont St.
It was a total team effort filled with Tommy Schmock and Trey Smith steals, a Matt Ashley block, and some Sullivan slams just to name a few. Whether it was 50/50 balls, or backside rebounding down low, the Oilers were the ones coming away with the ball.
The Oilers picked up their first loss this weekend against Lake Superior State University at the Don Callan Classic in Cedarville, Oh. The team bounced back, however, winning 131-72 over Miami-Hamilton. This puts them at 4-1 for the season.
Moving forward, the Oilers must keep the same intensity, and, according to Taren Sullivan, that is the plan.
“I think the key for us moving forward with such a great start is understanding that we were very hungry for the beginning of the season, but being able to keep that hunger everyday day in practice so we are prepared for every game,” Sullivan stated. “Also making sure we don’t get ahead of ourselves and concentrate only on the next game.”