After an energetic, hard-fought game Oasis Academy’s boys’ basketball team ended with a home loss against Coral Academy of Science — Reno, 52-26.
Though the game was a loss, it was still a win for Oasis as they defended their prize in the Battle for the Ore Cart. Oasis claimed the higher combined score between the two games played this season.
Much like the Fremont Cannon between Nevada’s universities, Oasis and Coral compete for an ore cart, which is displayed at the winning school. Oasis Athletics Director Dusty Casey said he and Coral Academy’s athletics director wanted something special for the teams to compete for since neither was eligible for playoffs when the competition began last year.
The Falcons jumped to the lead in the first half, holding Oasis under 10 points. The Bighorns closed out the half with baskets from Joel Mincer and Joshua Mikulak, 29-7.
Both teams brought a strong defense into the third quarter. Neither side made much ground as Oasis’s Kenyen Hicks, Patrick Morrow and Brenden Norman-Leary added to their score, 37-13. The final quarter was the most intense as both teams pulled out all the stops. Though it was a loss, Hicks, Mikulak, Patrick Morrow and Mincer scored a total of 13 points.
Oasis coach Donald Schank said they went into the game knowing Coral Academy would full-court press the entire game. He said their press never bothered Oasis Friday, though, and noted it actually helped keep them focused and opened up opportunities for good shots.
“That’s what I was happy with,” Shank said. “We need to learn to handle pressure and they learned how to handle pressure today.”
He added, however, there are aspects of the game they still need to learn. The team had good shooting opportunities, but hasn’t learned how to shoot in all situations yet. Schank said many of the players are still new to the game and plans to work on growing that experience in the off-season.
Schank also said his players were simply tiring out; it’s a small team and the back-to-back game schedule eventually took its toll. He added how proud he is of his players and everything they do.
“They work so hard,” Schank said. “They don’t quit. It doesn’t matter if they’re 30 points down, they’re still running up and down the floor … they’re still trying to penetrate to the basket. I’m just happy to death of that.”
Hicks led Oasis, scoring seven points. Mincer and Mikulak were right behind him with six each while Morrow followed with five. Norman-Leary scored two.
Oasis also took on Eureka Saturday, taking another loss, 58-27. The Vandals swept the first quarter, taking a 13-point lead. The Bighorns came back in the second, but could not stop Eureka’s offense for 24-6 at halftime. In the third quarter, Oasis was on fire, nearly matching Eureka shot for shot; they were trailing too far, though, and could not threaten the Vandals’ lead.
Johnson and Mikulak led the Bighorns’ scoring with six each, Johnson nailing two three-pointers. Douglas Lee was close behind with five, Morrow and Mincer scored four each and Normal-Leary two. Mikulak, Morrow and Johnson were also defensive leaders with eight, seven and six rebounds respectively.