Blue Collar War Eagles Drive Home with Overtime Win

The Oak Ridge War Eagles traveled to the unfriendly confines of the Lufkin “Panther Gym” and came back with a huge overtime win, 64-59.

Any time you travel to Siberia and win at anything, you are ecstatic. The blue collar work ethic of all the athletes there bring out the most of whatever abilities they possess.

The War Eagles had to work hard to pull this one off and even showed some of their own work ethic in coming from behind to take home this gigantic district win.

When you take into account the fact that various War Eagles have been hurt and are hurting and the line-up has had to be creatively changed time and time again throughout the season, you can bet the bottled water the coaches were consuming on the bus ride back to Oak Ridge resembled nothing short of Dom Perignon.

With Oak Ridge in the lead late in the first quarter, the Panthers Dominique Shaw and Xavier Walker got hot and were able to lead their team on a 15-2 run in the 2nd quarter. In finishing off the scoring in the 1st half, Lufkin’s John McClain and J.J. Baldwin each made baskets propelling the Panthers to a 30-22 halftime lead.

Coach Rob Stewart’s halftime speech must have been inspiring as Oak Ridge came out in the 3rd quarter and tied things up at 30 with Marc Forson and Halen Butler combining for all eight points. From that point forward it was almost basket for basket as neither team could create any separation.

In overtime, Oak Ridge (15-8 and 3-2) finally opened things up by going on a 12-2 run which proved to be the nail in Lufkin’s (13-11 and 1-3) coffin.

Terrell Lawrence had 18 points and 12 boards as D’Marcus Fitch and Halen Butler tallied 10 points each. Taw Mann continues to be a force on the glass as he hauled down 11 rebounds. Roberson led the Panthers with 22 points on the strength of six three’s. McClain added 17 and Baldwin had 8.

Oak Ridge next plays on the 21st at home versus Kingwood.

AND NOW FOR THE REAL STORY: Here is Coach Rob Stewart’s post-game quote consisting of his thoughts on the game.

“We quit playing defense correctly in the first half. We allowed six points in the first seven minutes of the game and 24 in the next nine. There is no way that is acceptable. Our coaches were upset as well as our players at half time. We all decided that we had to defend the way that we are capable of because if we don’t do that successfully, it unhinges everything else that we try to do. Our defense is our anchor. It holds us steady in the storm. Friday night the anchor chain broke, but the players fixed it and rode out the storm IN Lufkin.

Our offense was good all night as we shot over 50% in every quarter and that was due to Marc Forson having his best night of district play. Every time our offense got out of sync, Marc guided us back to what we were doing. One possession that stands out late in the game was when we ran one and a half minutes off of the clock with Marc directing the action. D’Marcus (Fitch) ended up drawing a foul on a layup and he made both free throws. It was a thing of beauty!”

You see, I told you UCONN’s Kemba Walker reminded me of Marc Forson!!!

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com

Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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