By: Dylan DeWitt
Last Thursday, both the men`s and women`s basketball teams took on the visiting Ohio Dominican Panthers in a Great Midwest Conference dual. The games would prove to be nothing but excitement when both games would be decided within the final minutes. As the student section filled from courtside to the final row, the immediate feeling of a Croy Classic was creeping to the surface and ready for tip-off.
The women`s team played first. The battle began from the first tip where it was a continuous back and forth battle to take a lead. The Panthers would come away with the ahead in the first half heading to the locker room 39-34. Heading in to the second half, the tide looked to be flowing Findlay`s way as they came out of the halftime ready to go. The Oilers would take a two-point lead going into the fourth quarter. The Panthers did not go to quietly and tested the Oilers through the next ten minutes. The Panthers clawed their way back into a lead with 20 seconds remaining in the contest. They would hold on and seal the victory with a couple of free throws at the end of the game to defeat the Oilers 76-71.
Three Oilers hit double digits with points during the match-up. Anna Hintz led all scoring books with her 28-point night along with adding 12 rebounds to her performance with Elissa Ellerbrock also had 17 points of her own. Fellow teammate, Christa Puthoff scored 13 points as well. The Oilers sat in fourth place in the conference with a 7-3 record in conference play along with an 11-4 record after the game.
Following the women`s contest, the highly anticipated men’s game against the Panthers after their last meeting was under way. The previous year, the Panthers came into Croy and defeated the Oilers on a last second buzzer beater in the semi-finals contest. Nearly one year later both teams entered the game as number one and two seeds in the standings for the division.
Just like the women`s game, the teams were at it against one another from the jump. The first half was filled with excitement with the Oilers heading to the locker room with a one-point lead 37-36.
As the second half began, it was a duel dog fight until the final buzzer sounded. The Oilers saw themselves start to gain the momentum with about five minutes left in the contest where they were up six, 82-76. However, the Panthers have won before in the crunch time against the Oilers, and would try to repeat a victory like the one in year`s past. With 38 seconds left in the game, the Oilers found themselves down by one after an ODU 7-0 run.
With 20 seconds remaining, Coach Ernst would call a timeout to strategize a play call to give the Oilers the lead. From the huddle, the team set up for the play. White would score the bucket with 15 seconds to play. After a huge stop on the other end, sophomore Anthony Masterlasco was given the opportunity to put his team up two after a pair of free throws. The Oilers were up 3 points with five seconds to go.
The final play of the game sealed the victory for the Oilers in style. The inbound pass was stolen by Schmock and as he was getting fouled while running after the ball, he turned his body in midair and launched the ball into the net. The Croy Gymnasium exploded into a roaring applause. A four-point play by Schmock would end the game 89-82 with the Oilers walking away victorious.
Sitting at No. 12 in the nation, the Oilers were led once more by Bevo Francis Award Finalist, Alex White with a double-double performance. He would finish the game with 22 points and 10 rebounds on the evening. Fellow teammate, Tommy Schmock would add another double double to the box score with a 15 point and 10 assist game. Other double digit scorers included Aaron Overhiser, 15 points, Trey Smith, 13 points and 4 out of the 12 steals for the Oilers on defense, and Chazz George with 12 respectively.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will face off against the Hillsdale Chargers who come to Croy Gymansium Saturday,