It was a tough way to close out the 2018-2019 basketball campaign for the Oakdale varsity Mustangs. The team hosted a pair of Valley Oak League games as the season came to a close this past week.
Oakdale (15-13, 1-11) fell to Kimball (14-13, 5-7) by a 66-56 contest to start the week. In the loss, the Mustangs had three scorers in double figures. John Foreman paced the team with 16 points, Kobe Nunes and Sam Medlin each had 14 for Oakdale.
On Friday night, a packed gym with standing room only, was treated to an exciting season finale against visiting Central Catholic (20-8, 10-2). Prior to tipoff Oakdale honored their five senior varsity players for Senior Night 2019. Foreman, Medlin, Jeff Crawley, Wyatt Waterworth and Evan Brush were all recognized and earned a standing ovation by the appreciative crowd on hand.
“The crowd was electric tonight and we (the seniors) wanted to give them a competitive game. It’s hard to believe that the season is over,” said Foreman.
He scored a team high 18 points in the finale.
Following the ceremony the Mustangs looked to avenge a 67-39 road loss from Jan. 15 to the Raiders. In that loss, the Raiders were successful from long range, resulting in a runaway victory. However, Friday night it was anything but a runaway. The Raiders rallied from 15 down to defeat Oakdale 60-52.
The Mustangs fed off the large crowd’s energy and opened the game on an 8-1 run forcing an early timeout by Central Catholic. The Mustangs furthered their advantage as Brush dished the ball to Medlin for a layup to go up 16-10 to end the first quarter.
In the second quarter Oakdale continued to punish the Raiders as Michael Echavarria connected on a three point field goal from the corner to go up 22-13 with 4:58 left to play in the half. With a 29-15 advantage, Medlin’s night came to a close as he exited the game with an injury and did not return. Medlin finished with six points and three blocks in limited action. Oakdale held the Raiders to just five second quarter points and took a 30-15 lead into halftime.
“We were fired up at halftime,” said Waterworth.
Central Catholic, however, patiently chipped away at the deficit and got it to single digits. Then, Jonah Norman’s jumper with 1:46 left in the third gave Oakdale a 10 point advantage.
Things started to unravel in the fourth as Central Catholic brought the score within two until Nunes pulled down an offensive rebound and tip in for a 49-45 lead with six minutes remaining. With a 49-46 lead with 4:27 remaining, Peyton Bradford fouled out with three point, after having come on in relief of Medlin. Less than 20 seconds later the score was tied at 49.
The Raiders took their first lead of the night with 3:24 left in regulation (51-49) but Nunes tied the game at 51 a minute later. Nunes finished with a 17 point effort. From there Oakdale could not keep up with the high powered Raider offense and were outscored 9-1 down the stretch.
A thrilling 60-57 victory over Central Catholic capped off the season for Oakdale. A 23-point effort by Kaleb McDonald helped secure the team’s 24th overall win of the season. Oakdale finished in second place in the Valley Oak League with a VOL record of 9-3.
A 26-20 halftime deficit did not slow down the youngest Mustang boys basketball team. Oakdale turned things around for a 58-49 home win over Central Catholic on Friday night, Feb. 9. The team connected on nine three-point field goals (9-for-18) and also made nine two-point field goals (9-for-24). Johnny Kraude scored a team high 15 points. Oakdale finished 23-5 overall and finished second the Valley Oak League with an 8-4 record.