SPARTANBURG — The Oakbrook Academy Knights slayed the RWA Eagles Friday night 91-45. Outside shooting proved the difference, with Oakbrook connecting 14 times from downtown.
Head Coach Joe Pitt said his team rotated on defense and challenged many of those shots, but hot shooters hit the open looks. By contrast, RWA netted three three-pointers for the game. As has been the case much of the season for RWA, its undersized front court proved to be a liability.
Oakbrook, the defending SCISA AA State Champions, has defeated York and Northwestern this season. Pitt expects the Knights to advance deep into the playoffs again. Currently the Knights are undefeated in conference play.
“Rebounding has been our Achilles heel all year because we are smaller. Oakbrook had one kid inside who was 6 foot 5 and we had a hard time matching up for him rebounding, especially,” he said. “Our boys played hard, though, and they have been working hard and doing the things we are asking them to do.” Cameron Cooper led the Eagles with 11 points while Patrick Pope chipped in ten.
Pitt said with a few shots going in here or there the RWA record could look much differently this season, as his squad has been plagued with poor shooting overall.
“We lost some close games either at the (free throw) line or with poor shooting from the field,” he said.
He said the team has done extra shooting drills and his players are working hard. The drills show promise in practice but Pitt said his players have had problems carrying the progress over into games.
The team defense has been a strength and ball handling has improved, building on the growth of point guard Jason Branham from the final half of the 2012-13 season. Pitt said they are developing new point guards behind Branham to ready RWA for the future but that his current point guard worked hard over the summer and really cut down on his turnovers.
This week’s games on the road Tuesday at Greenwood and at home Friday versus Spartanburg Day could help as RWA battles to secure a playoff spot. If the Eagles beat both schools, RWA will be in third place in the region, the rank that receives a spot in the SCISA playoffs.
“A sweep this week would get our kids in a better frame of mind,” Pitt said.