By: Dylan DeWitt
As the snow storm began to roll in on Saturday morning, the crowds at Croy Gymnasium were filled in to watch two games of Oilers basketball against the visiting Hillsdale Chargers.
The women`s team was up first and once again the game did not disappoint. The game had the Oilers in full advantage most of the way but with a quarter left in the contest, the Chargers struck. The team from Hillsdale would work their way quickly and efficiently around the court in order to make a ballgame out of it.
After a 15-3 run in the fourth quarter, the Chargers were suddenly up by one with under five minutes to play. On a day that did not see the best of shooting percentages on the year for the Oilers, they did make the most of their opportunities down the stretch at the charity stripe.
With the help of the guard play by Elissa Ellerbrock and Allie Thobe, the Oilers prevailed in a 69-64 victory over the Hillsdale Chargers. The two senior guards led the way on the offensive side of the ball in which Ellerbrock scored 14 points. Allie Thobe was a stat book filler throughout the game adding something to just about every column in the books. Thobe would end with 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and two steals in the victory.
With one victory at hand, the men`s team took a turn at getting their own taste of victory. Standing in their way of doing so were the No. 2 seeded team in the conference, the Hillsdale Chargers. The game was filled with emotion from the start both on the court, on the sidelines, and in the stands.
The Chargers were ranked No. 8 shooting team in the conference of 13 teams, but on Saturday that was not the case. Through the first half of play where the Oilers saw themselves down by nine points heading to the locker room, the Chargers were shooting just under 60 percent from the field and 85 percent from behind the arc.
As the game went on, the Oilers began to show life, getting back in the game and look to close out a tough fought game in battling back. The team was down by just four after cutting the lead, but a double dribble call that was up in question waved off a made three-point field goal as time expired on the shot clock by Ethan Linder. The Chargers would take advantage of the momentum being halted. The Chargers would close out the game at the free throw line, and take the victory 93-82, and giving the Oilers their first loss at home this season.
The Oilers would end up shooting a higher percentage from the field (55.2 percent) than the Chargers (53.2 percent), but the three point and free throw percentage were keys to the victory for the Chargers. The Chargers would go on to shoot 65 percent from three-point range and 94.7 percent from the free throw line making 18 of their 19 attempts. The Oilers were led by a career high of 25 points from Aaron Overhiser along with an additional ten rebounds grabbed by the South Haven native. Trey Smith and Alex White were double figure scorers with 16 and 14 points respectively.
Both teams pack up and head down south this week to Music City, USA in Nashville Tennessee to take on Trevecca Nazarene this Thursday. These games are scheduled for 6:30 p.m and 8:45 p.m. starts. On Saturday, the Oilers will begin their trip back north to take on Kentucky Wesleyan, Jan. 26 at 1 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.