The Oakdale varsity Mustangs boys basketball team may be 0-3 and struggling early this season, but the team has had its bright moments. On the positive side, for the first time since camp opened, first-year head coach Hondo Arpoika has enough players on his roster to run a full five-on-five practice, as numerous fall sports athletes recently made their 2015 basketball debut.
Tuesday evening the Mustangs were roughed up on the road 65-22 to El Capitan. On Thursday evening, the full roster made their way onto the court and hosted the Summerville Bears. The visiting Bears clawed their way to a 56-44 road win, but Oakdale’s senior forward Mitch MacDonald wowed the crowd with his offensive assault on the Bears in the first half.
On a pass from junior guard Dallon Barfield, MacDonald knocked down his first of five three-point baskets with 7:01 to play in the first quarter, giving Oakdale an early 3-2 advantage. Moments later, Blake Whiting found MacDonald at the top of the key and MacDonald drained his second three ball. Whiting finished with three steals and an assist for the Mustangs. Up 6-4, MacDonald dribbled his way from inside the paint, and dribbled back out to set up his shot. With the shot clock winding down and a defender’s hand in his face, MacDonald put up his third successful three ball giving the Mustangs a 9-4 lead and forcing the Bears to take a timeout. Summerville’s timeout proved costly to the Mustangs and MacDonald’s offense, as the Bears closed the first quarter on a 12-0 run to take a 16-9 lead.
The Bears continued to punish the Mustangs as they built up their lead to 24-9 midway through the half. Oakdale’s offensive slump ended when MacDonald knocked down a midrange jumper with 5:46 left in the half. Later in the half, MacDonald found himself under the rim with three Bear defenders on him. As MacDonald was surrounded, he could not pass the ball, but instead pump faked once and got a defender off his feet and when he returned to the ground, MacDonald put up the ball using the help of the backboard and watched it fall in. The Mustangs found themselves in a 30-19 halftime hole. All 19 Oakdale points came off the hands of MacDonald in the first two quarters.
“My teammates set me up really well in the first half, resulting in open looks. All credit goes to them honestly,” MacDonald said.
The modest senior went on to add “The defense gave me space early. And that allowed me to knock down a couple of shots early, and get my confidence going.”
The second half got off to a slow start for the Mustangs, scoring their first points of the third quarter with 2:39 left in the period on a Barfield three pointer from the top of the arc, cutting the Bears lead down to 43-22. Oakdale was outscored 18-9 in the third quarter, facing a 48-28 deficit to start the fourth quarter.
Down 50-30, MacDonald’s poke away steal, and fast break layup with 5:11 left in the game got the Mustang faithful on their feet. Senior Adam Olsen made his season debut on Thursday night and made an impact in the fourth quarter including a pair of reverse layups. Olsen finished with six points and one rebound. Barfield connected on a pair of fourth quarter three’s including the game’s final points with 33.2 seconds left.
“Not the outcome we wanted, but it’s early in the season. We just got our football guys back out here. I thought we did a good job out there considering it was our first game as a complete team. These guys did not get a lot of practice time,” Barfield said following the game. He finished with 11 points, two assists and two rebounds.
The Mustangs will host two of their next three games, but were scheduled to begin with a road trip to Atwater to face the Falcons on Tuesday, Dec 15. Oakdale returns home for a pair of games when the Mustangs host Gregori on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. and Monday night, Dec. 21 Oakdale welcomes Sonora with tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m.
Still looking their first victory, the junior varsity team fell 62-54 at home against the Bears on Thursday night. Oakdale battled through late in the game cutting the lead down to two points with 2:20 left in the game. Down 58-54 with just over 30 seconds remaining, the Bears connected on a three point shot to give them a 61-54 advantage, putting away the Mustangs. Drew Legan led the Mustangs with 22 points, and Andrew Munoz added 13 points. Oakdale is now 0-2 on the season. The team traveled to Atwater on Tuesday, Dec. 15 following The Leader’s deadline. Oakdale returns home to host the Sonora Wildcats on Dec 21. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Under first year head coach Grant Miller, Oakdale’s youngest hoopsters took the home court Thursday night against Summerville. Oakdale fell behind early and could not regroup, losing 62-34. Oakdale’s Jensen Mauchley and Jeff Crowley led the team in scoring with nine points each.
“We made a good run in the third quarter. Mauchley completed a four point play that brought us to within ten points. We just kind of fell apart in the fourth quarter. It’s still very early in the season and we have time to correct things and compete,” Miller said of his team.
Oakdale (0-2) will host Sonora on Dec 21. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.