Flyin’ to the Hoop: Oakwood falls to Columbus Africentric

KETTERING – Oakwood coach Paul Stone loved that his team finally got a chance to play in the Premier Flyin’ To The Hoop showcase on Saturday at Trent Arena.

He wanted a different result than the 52-49 loss his team suffered to Columbus Africentric, but the midseason experience of his team learning about themselves was valuable.

“We talked about it before we went out and we talked about it just now: Worst-case scenario is that we lose and we get a chance to learn what is it we didn’t handle well, what is it we have to make sure we don’t let happen again,” Stone said.

The Lumberjacks (11-2) entered the game ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press Division II poll. Africentric (8-3) is ranked No. 7 in Division III.

Stone’s team learned that it can play with long and athletic teams like Africentric. They just need to shoot better next time. The Jacks shot 38.2% and made only 4 of 19 three-point attempts.

“We usually don’t miss that many pretty good looks,” Stone said. “That makes you think woulda, coulda, shoulda, but we only had six turnovers. We haven’t shot that poorly all year, but give them credit, too, because when you go to the rim there’s a guy that’s 6-foot-7, 6-foot-8 there. You don’t see that in the SWBL every day.”

And that’s the point of playing this game.

“If we want to go somewhere in the tournament, we’re going to see a team similar to this somewhere with this kind of talent,” Stone said. “I hope we learned from it.”

Oakwood leading scorer Will Maxwell, a 6-5 junior, scored 19 points in his first day back with the team after a week off with COVID-19. He got a break in the first half but was an iron man in the second half.

“It’s tough to come back and play against a good Africentric team after I didn’t do anything all week, but it was a pretty good showing for us,” Maxwell said. “In the SWBL we don’t play too many teams like this that press and get after it. We like to play fast, they like to play fast, so it was a really good learning opportunity for us today.”

Keon Wright added 13 points and Jack Eply 11 for Oakwood. Africentric 6-7 point guard Dailyn Swain, who has an Ohio State offer, led the Nubians with 16 points and five assists.

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