By: Dylan DeWitt
Coming off one of the best seasons in program history, Coach Ernst and his team took court this past week at the Crossover in Kirksville Missouri Nov. 9 and 10.
They were victorious in both of their games and demonstrated why they are ranked inside the top 25 in the nation. The Oilers are 2-0 after victories against Truman State and Quincy and are now ranked #19 in the nation for Division II basketball.
Coming into the season, there were spots that would need to be filled on both sides of the ball. In their season opener, the Oilers showed their strength after a slow start out of the gates.
The Oilers were down by ten points with just under halfway to go in the first half. However, the Oilers would close the half on a 25-9 run, and then take it to Truman State in the second half to put them away.
The season opener saw four players score double digits in the contest including Trey Smith with 16 points, Anthony Masterlasco with 15, Alex White contributing 13 points and then Chazz George with 10 points.
For the team, they would go on to shoot 53.5 percent from the field and take advantage of the 18 forced turnovers as they converted 30 points off those. The game would end in an 81-57 in favor of the Oilers.
The following day, the Oilers team would take on Quincy in a hard-fought battle. Once again though, the Oilers would be victorious and have another great game shooting the basketball.
The Oilers shot 52 percent from behind the arc and were led by Aaron Overhiser and Alex White. Overhiser would have a career-high game with 24 points and White would contribute 22, also a career high. Another career high came from Tommy Schmock with 15 points. The game would end in a 91-86 victory for the Oilers.
A big help to the victories this past week would come from the big guys inside, working the post, and being a wall in the paint on defense.
One of those guys was senior Alex White. White said that executing well on both ends of the court was a key to victory, but still not satisfied, and knows that the team is ready to keep working harder each and every day.
“Going on the road to Missouri, getting our first wins and coming back 2/2 in wins is definitely a positive takeaway when you walk away,” said White.
In addition to the wins, he said the bench play was an exception and sees the confidence in these guys coming in and making an impact on the court for the Oilers.
“Our bench played exceptional when they had to step up which definitely gives us confidence when guys are in foul trouble or need a break,” White said about his teammates. “Chazz, Deven, Ethan and Brady all proved they could come in and contribute in positive ways.”
As far as what is next, the team will look to take the next few days to keep improving on both ends, and execute the motion offense. Along with this, working towards a constant team effort defensive scheme will help improve as the season moves along. Overall, Alex White and the rest of the team are happy with their first two games, and stated, “Things can only go up from here”.
The Oilers will prepare next for their home opener game this Saturday Nov. 17 as they will take on the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals at Croy Gymnasium. The game starts at 3 p.m.