The Hondo Arpoika basketball era tipped off on Thursday, Dec. 3 at OHS when the varsity boys basketball team hosted Escalon to start the 2015-2016 season. The Mustangs fell 61-37 to the visitors but stayed competitive throughout the contest.
Oakdale struggled on offense in the first quarter as they were outscored 9-1. Junior guard Jaylen Fogleman scored Oakdale’s lone point on a free throw attempt midway through the period.
Down 11-2 in the second quarter, freshman John Foreman split a pair of free throws making the first but the second hit off the rim and into the arms of fellow freshman Sam Medlin and the 6’5” Mustang center grabbed the rebound and got the put back to fall in, scoring Oakdale’s first field goal of the game with 5:51 left in the first half. The Mustangs went to the locker room down 27-14, but the Cougars came out of the locker room fired up and opened the second half on a 14-2 run over the course of 7:59 in the third, forcing Arpoika to call a timeout.
Following the timeout, Oakdale began a run of their own, as Fogleman passed the ball to 6’4” junior Reece Noordeweir for the easy layup to close the gap to 41-18 late in the third quarter. Noordeweir finished with five points and two rebounds.
The Mustangs entered the fourth quarter down 44-20 but over the final eight minutes, the Mustangs exchanged point for point with the Cougars. Junior guard Dallon Barfield got the crowd on their feet when the first year varsity player threw a deep pass near the announcer’s table to Medlin, who passed it to Tanner Harvey under the basket for the easy two with 7:02 left in the game. Barfield’s reverse layup with 5:11 left in the game cut the lead down to 53-30. Barfield finished with eight points and three assists for the Mustangs. His eight points were a team high along with senior Mitch McDonald, who also had eight points.
“There was good and bad out there tonight. We really played tough out there, especially on the defensive side of the floor. For our first game out here as a unit, I think we played well tonight,” McDonald said of his team’s effort.
Escalon’s Sahil Prasad, a sophomore, scored 11 second half points to help lead the way for the visitors. Prasad knocked down a deep corner three making it 56-32 with just over two minutes to play. McDonald responded with a three of his own seconds later. The Escalon lead was just too much for the Mustangs to overcome, the visitors handing them the loss.
“I think our kids’ work ethic really showed tonight. They went after loose balls, and they hustled down the court,” said first-year varsity coach Hondo Arpoika. “The team’s defense ignited the offense by their play and inspired them to play hard down the stretch. Overall we are extremely young, and those young men grinded it out tonight. Extremely proud of them.”
Oakdale hit the road on Tuesday, Dec. 8 to play El Capitan after The Leader’s press time. Oakdale returns home on Thursday, Dec. 10 to host Summerville, tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The junior varsity and freshman teams were not in action this past week but hit the court on Tuesday, Dec. 8 on the road against El Capitan. The two teams make their home debut on Thursday evening against Summerville. Frosh tipoff is at 4 p.m. with the JV to follow at 5:30 p.m.