Auburn High School Falls 45-37 to Oak Mountain in State Semi-finals
Oak Mountain High School’s boys’ basketball team took a big step last season by the AHSAA State Basketball Championships. Tuesday, the Eagles took a giant step with a 45-37 victory over Auburn High School in the Class 7A semifinals to advance to Wednesday’s championship game at 4:30 p.m., at UAB’s Bartow Arena.
Leading the way was the Eagles’ own giant – 6-foot-11 junior center Will Shaver, who overcame surgery last winter to return to the court this season.
Shaver had 10 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots, but more importantly, altered a number other shots by the Tigers to force them outside their comfort zone that normally meant attacking the basket, said Auburn Coach Chris Brandt.
“No doubt, having his size and presence inside took away what we liked to do best,” said Brandt. It also helped result in a 24.1% shooting percentage (13-of-54) by the Tigers (22-4).
Oak Mountain (23-9), coached by Chris Love, also struggled offensively, especially in the first half. The Eagles trailed 19-15 at intermission – keeping close thanks to guard Wilder Evers, who made timely buckets to keep Oak Mountain close. He finished with a team-high 15 points and senior Noah Young finished strong scoring 12 points and clearing six rebounds. Brady Dunn had seven rebounds to lead the Eagles on the boards. Evan Smith added five assists.
The Auburn team, which dressed 11 seniors among its 13 players, spread their scoring out with Bryson Clague the leader with nine. Noah Warren added seven, Miles Hunt had five.
Oak Mountain will face the winner of Tuesday’s other 7A semifinal battle, which features Spain Park and Enterprise, in Wednesday’s championship game. All semifinal and championship games are being live-streamed over the NFHS Network by AHSAA TV partner WOTM TV. All of Tuesday’s games at UAB’s Bartow Arena and Bill Harris Arena are also being televised live over the AHSAA TV Network and broadcast live over the AHSAA Radio Network.