Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
LUCASVILLE — During the regular season, Northwest handed Oak Hill two of its five conference losses. But when it mattered most, the Oaks came out on top.
In the two’s third meeting this year, Oak Hill (15-8) handed the Mohawks a 52-42 loss … effectively ending their season in a Division III sectional final.
The win nailed down Oak Hill’s first sectional crown since 2017 … which was Caitlyn Brisker’s freshman year … who torched Northwest’s defense all afternoon.
“We came in the first two games against [Northwest] knowing something was off,” Brisker said. “We knew coming into this game that it’s hard to beat a team three times. We guarded them really well.”
Brisker scored a game-high 27 points, set the tone offensively and continually made it known she wouldn’t be denied quality looks at the bucket.
In a big-time game and on a big-time stage, Brisker turned in a big-time performance.
“[Northwest] is really long and they’re hard to drive on,” Brisker said. “But we knew we had to get transition lay-ups because if your drive in, they’ll block your shots. I hit some 3’s in the first half and once we started getting steals, I got some transition lay-ups. That helped a lot. Then I hit my foul shots.”
Brisker scored her first basket with 3:19 left in the first quarter, giving the Oaks a 7-4 lead. After Northwest’s Keirah Potts scored on the other end, Brisker hit a 3 to make it a 10-6 ballgame. Then, with 1:45 remaining, she dialed long distance a second time, making it 13-6.
She wasn’t done yet, however.
After Brooke Howard put Oak Hill ahead 15-7, Brisker hit her third trey at the buzzer, sending Oak Hill’s crowd into a frenzy and her team into the second with an 18-7 advantage.
Northwest made its own run, though.
Behind Valerie Copas and Haidyn Wamsley, the Mohawks (18-4) ripped off an 11-4 run, cutting the deficit to 22-18 at halftime.
In the third, Wamsley scored to make it a one-point ballgame with 6:59 left. But Olivia Clarkson scored consecutive buckets to push the lead to 29-23 before Brisker made it a 31-23 score.
Oak Hill’s Chloe Chambers later got a putback to fall, capping a 14-7 run and giving the Oaks a 36-25 advantage heading into the final eight minutes.
Northwest had one more punch, cutting the lead to 36-32 after a bucket from Potts midway through. But Clarkson answered on the other end before Brisker hit her foul shots down the stretch, putting the game on ice — the senior finished 10-of-11 charity stripe.
“We just have to keep our attitudes, just like we did today,” Brisker said. “We made a mistake but we regrouped when we did, told each other that it was fine and went back out and got a stop on defense.”
Brisker added four rebounds and three assists to her 27 points while Clarkson finished with 13 points. Chambers had five points and nine rebounds, and Howard added seven points and four boards.
Northwest was led statistically by Wamsley, who finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. Potts ended the day with 12 points and seven rebounds, and Copas had 10 points and six boards.
The Oaks advance to play Southeastern in a Division III district final at 8 p.m., Thursday at Waverly’s Downtown Gym while the Mohawks end their tournament run.
Both teams, however, have make-up games left on the schedule.
In Oak Hill’s case, that includes a trip to Portsmouth West on Monday … one the Oaks plan to use in preparation for Thursday’s bout.
“We’re going to run through our offenses and work on our zone defense,” senior Peyton Miller said. “Our bench had incredible energy tonight. They lifted the whole team up. When Northwest got back in the game, we just kept pulling ahead. I’m ecstatic.”
Oak Hill: 18-4-14-16 — 52
Northwest: 7-11-7-17 — 42
Oak Hill: 16-40 FG, 15-17 FT, 5-15 3 pt., 23 rebounds (Chambers 9), 13 turnovers, 8 assists (Brisker 3). Scoring: Brisker 27, Clarkson 13, Bro. Howard 7, Chambers 5.
Northwest: 15-45 FG, 8-13 FT, 4-17 3 pt., 26 rebounds (Montgomery 7, Potts 7), 12 turnovers, 6 assists (Jenkins 3). Scoring: Wamsley 16, Potts 12, Copas 10, Montgomery 2, Jenkins 2.