For nearly five decades Oakdale has hosted the annual boys basketball holiday tournament known as the Oakdale Rotary Classic. In its 48th season Oakdale hosted eight teams over three days that saw plenty of varsity basketball action. Argonaut, Thomas Downey, Grace Davis, Hughson, Los Banos, Patterson, Pitman and Ripon Christian all came to Oakdale from Dec. 27 through Dec. 29 for the annual extravaganza.
The Mustangs did not disappoint as they placed third in the tournament in front of the home crowd. Oakdale started the tournament with a 55-52 win over Los Banos on Wednesday night. With the win that set them up to play Ripon Christian on Thursday night. The Knights took care of the Mustangs in their meeting with a 54-37 decision. Oakdale did not get discouraged, though, and were ready to play Downey in the third place game on Friday.
In a tight game throughout, the Mustangs defeated Downey 66-61. Drew Legan scored a game high 28 points including four three pointers. Legan knocked down three of his four long balls in the second half to help power Oakdale to victory. The Mustangs entered the fourth quarter up 47-42 but Downey opened the quarter with a 4-0 run to close the gap to 47-46. Legan connected on three point shot to lengthen Oakdale’s lead to 50-46 with seven minutes remaining. Downey did not go away quietly as they tied the game at 52 with 3:51 remaining in regulation. Downey took a 54-52 lead moments later.
The final minutes of the tournament came down to stingy defense, valuing the ball and making free throws. John Foreman tied the game at 58 following a pair of made free throws with 1:20 left. Foreman finished the game with 18 points; 14 of which he scored in the first half.
“I just made my shots, my teammates helped out on the other end of the floor and that led to fast break opportunities for me,” Foreman said.
With the score tied at 58, Sam Medlin gave Oakdale a 59-58 lead after splitting free throw attempts with 59.2 seconds left. Clinging to a 59-58 lead with less than one minute left, Downey turned the ball over on a pass to advance the ball to mid court. Downey did not foul and Oakdale made them pay for it with a Legan jumper with 40 seconds left to give Oakdale a 61-58 advantage. With a 63-61 lead with 18 seconds remaining, Legan was fouled and connected on both free throws to go up 65-61. Medlin pulled down the rebound on the other end of the floor to help secure the win.
“This was a big win for us. It gives us confidence moving into league play next week,” Foreman said.
Oakdale opens league play this week against Kimball on the road Wednesday, Jan. 3 with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. The Mustangs will host Weston Ranch on Friday, Jan. 5 in their league home opener scheduled for 7 p.m.