Anchorpoint Christian and Oakwood Country School may have other simalarities, but on Wednesday, the one that stood out most was maximum effort out of its basketball players. In a Coastal Athletic League encounter between the tiniest high schools in Gilroy and Morgan Hill, host Oakwood played a calm, collected and well-executed three quarters of basketball. In rebuttal, Anchorpoint awoke late and forced the issue with a calculated fourth-quarter rally.
However, the Hawks survived the Warriors’ threat and came away with a 41-38 victory.
“We were under control before all those turnovers,” Oakwood head coach Kort Jensen said. “That evens us up, which is good because that was an ugly one.”
Oakwood, a private school with an enrollment of 58 and features players from both Morgan Hill and Gilroy, is eyeing its first Central Coast Section playoff berth. With Wednesday’s win, the Hawks are 11-5 overall and 3-3 in league. Anchorpoint, also with an enrollment under 100, after a grueling nonleague slate of games has been playing better of late as it makes the turn to the second half of league action under the guidence of head coach KC Adams.
The Hawks led by as many as 14 in the third quarter and carried a 12-point advantage into the fourth – it was enough to preserve the victory. But not before a few nail-biting moments.
The Warriors, behind Josiah Wylie’s seven and Kelon Jacobs’ 10 fourth-quarter points, managed to stay within reach down the stretch as an untimely batch of Hawks’ turnovers resulted in extra possessions.
After back-to-back buckets by Oakwood’s Amarjot Thind and 6-foot-7 freshman Justin Mortensen inflated the lead to 37-24, Wylie countered with a layup while being fouled. He converted the free throw for the three-point play. Jacobs cut it to eight points with a floating jumper. The Warriors turned their extra possessions into free throws, which slowed the pace of play and milked the clock for all it was worth. Wylie and Jacobs combined to take 12 free throws in the final period, converting nine of them. Two Jacobs freebies made it 41-36 with 17 seconds left. He hit a layup at the buzzer to finalize the outcome. Anchorpoint finished the game with four available players after Wylie and point guard Austin Keathley fouled out.
“We just wanted to put pressure on the ball,” said Wylie, who finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. “Pressing the ball helped us.”
The first half belonged to the Hawks and their big men in the middle. Mortensen, 6-foot-2 Brett Hall and Harsh Sikka controlled play in the paint. Hall had 10 points in the first quarter, which helped propel Oakwood to a 15-8 lead at the conclusion of the period. Sikka, who finished with a team-high 14 points and 11 rebounds, had six of those points in the second quarter. Mortensen also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.