(NYC's Dante Taylor)
By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Most of the highlights came courtesy of National Christian Academy. But in the end, it was another Beckley win for Oak Hill Academy.
Four players scored in double figures, led by Bryon Allen’s 18 points, in the Warriors’ 76-56 win Wednesday in Mountain State Coal Classic.
The win upped Oak Hill’s record to 27-0 with games this weekend against Veritas Christian on Friday and William Fleming (Va.) on Saturday. It also kept the Warriors undefeated at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.
“We played pretty well,” veteran Oak Hill coach Steve Smith said. “They played zone three quarters of the game and we couldn’t quite get the tempo we wanted to get. They had a lot to do with that.”
The Eagles (17-5) found inside success early, thanks to an arsenal depending largely on 6-foot-9 senior Dante Taylor. National led 8-4 early with Taylor establishing himself around the basket. He scored six of those eight, the first two on a dunk.
Taylor was obviously the focal point of National’s offense. The Pitt signee finished with game-highs of 33 points and 11 rebounds.
“He’s probably one of the five best big men in the country,” National coach Trevor Brown said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s improved a lot over the last couple of years. From day one, over four years, it’s just been a steady improvement.
“What we’re trying to do with him is let people see that he is one of the best big men in the country.”
Oak Hill Academy certainly knows.
“The guys didn’t even realize we had a game today until 10 days ago,” Smith said. “I told them, ‘We’ve got a game in Beckley now, and (the Eagles) are pretty good.’
“I’ll tell you what, Taylor is a good player.”
“We wanted to limit his touches. One thing I wasn’t happy about was we let him catch the ball wherever he wanted to. If you do that, he’s going to hurt you.”
Taylor did just that, but the Warriors got everything else figured out. Once that happened, the Eagles had no chance.
“We always start out trying to go to him,” Brown said. “The thing with our team right now is we just don’t have the kind of talent Oak Hill has.”
The Warriors began to pull away in the second quarter. National got as close as 30-22, but a pair of three-pointers by Austin Alecxih allowed Oak Hill to close the half with a 38-25 lead.
Oak Hill maintained its cushion the entire second half. Allen scored 11 of his 18 after the break, and Keith “Tiny” Gallon, a 6-9, 320-pound forward, scored seven of his 13 in the fourth. He even nailed a three-pointer to give the Warriors a 67-49 lead with 3:05 to go.
Oak Hill's Doron Lamb scored 16 points and Lamont Jones had 10. Gallon and Glenn Bryant each had eight rebounds, and Pe’Shon Howard had eight assists.
Ayodeji Egbeyemi finished with 14 points for the Eagles. He had a reverse dunk off an alley-oop pass from Jarrell Briggs in the third quarter.