Oakwood’s ‘shooter’ leads Lumberjacks to Flyin’ win

Lumberjacks top Preble Shawnee 53-51

KETTERING — The Oakwood vs. Preble Shawnee storyline to open Day 3 Sunday at the 20th Beacon Orthopaedics Flyin’ To The Hoop was obvious: Senior Will Maxwell, Oakwood’s career scoring leader, vs. junior Mason Shrout, Shawnee’s career scoring leader.

Both are mid-major recruits. But Division II Oakwood brought a secret weapon that Division III Shawnee didn’t anticipate. One that averages 2.7 points a game with a career high of six points on four occasions.

“He’s a sniper,” Oakwood coach Paul Stone said.

So under the radar was senior guard Luke Tucker that he was surprised to be interviewed after he made every shot he took, including four 3-pointers, scored 16 points and helped Maxwell lead Oakwood to a 53-51 victory.

“I just shoot the ball — I don’t really think about it too much,” Tucker said and shrugged his shoulders. “I just let it fly.”

Tucker made a 3-pointer in each quarter. His last one put the Lumberjacks up 43-39 with 4:08 left.

“I got the ball a lot, so I took a lot of shots,” he said. “They were open shots and I just happened to make them today. I got to give a lot of credit to my teammates because they found me.”

Maxwell wasn’t surprised to see Tucker have a big day.

“He’s a shooter — that’s what he does,” Maxwell said. “He showed out today. I’m happy for him.”

Tucker still shared the big stage with Maxwell and Shrout, who are good friends and play in the same AAU program. Maxwell scored 29 points on 8 of 16 shooting and 11 of 15 at the free-throw line. Shrout scored 23 on 6 of 16 shooting and shot 10 of 10 at the line.

Oakwood (9-4 and in first place in the Southwestern Buckeye League East Division) built its lead to 51-43 with 35 seconds left and held on for its first win at Flyin’. Last year in their first appearance, the Lumberjacks lost 52-49 to Columbus Africentric during a 20-4 season.

“We had a chance to beat Africentric, the kids really wanted it and I was really happy that we got a chance this year to come back,” Stone said. ““We found a way. It wasn’t pretty early, wasn’t pretty late, but the middle part was OK.”

Preble Shawnee (13-2 and unbeaten in Western Ohio Athletic Conference play) led 14-7 after the first quarter, but Oakwood went to a 1-3-1 zone in the second quarter. Stone wanted to disrupt the Arrows’ momentum, and it worked. The Lumberjacks surged to a 24-20 halftime lead.

“They went to that 1-3-1 and our guys looked completely lost,” Shawnee coach Jake Turner said. “That’s the frustrating point from our standpoint because we’ve worked on that for a long time. That’s all on me. I’ve got to have them prepared more.”

Shawnee played in Flyin’ for the first time, and with Shrout coming back could get another shot next year like Oakwood did this year with Maxwell.

“They’ll never forget this,” Turner said. “There’s a lot of big-time players in this event and big-time teams. We talked about it and how you’ll talk about it when you’re hanging out with your buddies that you played with.”

And Oakwood won’t forget the day Luke Tucker got interviewed.

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