IJAMSVILLE — Nothing was going to stop 6-foot-5 forward Cory Schlee when Oakdale coach Terry Connolly told him to take over Tuesday night’s game against crosstown rival Linganore.
All night long, even in the midst of double teams, confidence exuded from Schlee’s every move. After an abysmal first half shooting display of 28 percent, including 0 of 10 from deep, Schlee shouldered the offensive load down the stretch, finishing with 25 points on 9 of 12 shooting to carry No 25 Oakdale to a 56-44 win over No. 22 Linganore.
Thirteen of his 25 points came in the second half, and his final six slammed the door on a Linganore comeback when they pulled it to within 46-42.
“I knew when I had the ball, they couldn’t guard me,” Schlee said. “They were a little undersized as a team, and their big guys aren’t that athletic. So right when I get the ball, I can go up, and they’re going to foul me, which they did.”
Schlee’s only three misses came from behind the arc. Everything inside proposed a near unstoppable task for Linganore. The senior forward also converted 7 of 11 free throw attempts, with all seven conversions and nine attempts coming in the first half, providing stability to an offense that succumbed to Linganore’s 3-2 zone.
“He can do it all,” Connolly said of Schlee.
Schlee’s offense in the first half was just enough to keep Oakdale (7-1) around to make a push in the deciding minutes.
His two free throws knotted the game at 12-12 a little over a minute into the second quarter, and his three-point-play brought Oakdale to within 18-17 with 3 minutes and 35 seconds left until halftime. After Oakdale missed two 3-pointers in a row on the same possession, Schlee, using his height to out-muscle an undersized Linganore team, grabbed an offensive rebound and drew a foul on the put-back attempt.
Two free throws cut Linganore’s lead to two, 21-19, right before the intermission.
The first half in which Oakdale went 7-for-25 was similar to their lone loss against Thomas Johnson, when the Bears shot 32 percent while letting up 54 percent. On Tuesday, Linganore shot 45.5 percent (10 of 22) in the first half compared to the Bears’ 28 percent mark.
‘There’s going to be some nights when you don’t shoot well, and that (Thomas Johnson) game was a prime example,” Connolly said. “We hung tough and continued to attack and be aggressive when it was there. That’s what you got to do.”
Oakdale opened the first 3 minutes and 40 seconds of the second half on a 12-2 run to take a 33-25 lead. Bradley Foster finished a putback to ignite the run. After Schlee’s layup to knot the game at 25-25, Drew Jeziori (eight points and five assists) pushed Oakdale ahead, 27-25, on two free throws. Schlee extended Oakdale’s lead to 29-25 on a contact layup and sophomore Colin Schlee (eight points, five rebounds and two steals) widened the advantage to 31-25 on a transition bucket.
Foster’s mid-range jumper then gave Oakdale a 33-25 lead.
Harry Rasmussen’s three-point play sparked a 10-2 run in the final 3 minutes and 56 seconds of the third quarter. A Nick Lang layup and floater on back-to-back possessions brought Linganore within three, 35-32, and Rasmussen’s 3-pointer to beat the third quarter buzzer tied the game at 35-35.
Harry Rasmussen hits a 3 before the buzzer to knot No. 22 Linganore and No. 25 Oakdale at 35-35 going into the fourth. 8 to go pic.twitter.com/C0CHWgecfE
— Kyle McFadden (@k_fadd) January 4, 2017
Oakdale opened the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run to take a 41-35 lead and soon took a 46-37 lead when they forced Linganore out of their 3-2 zone. After Austin Lohneis dropped in a floater to make it 41-37, Schlee finished a putback and two possessions later, J.P. DeLorenzo buried a 3-pointer to swell Oakdale’s lead to nine with 4:21 to go.
Linganore got to within four, 46-42, with under 2:30 left, but that’s when the elder Schlee put Oakdale’s first win of the 2017 calendar year on ice with six emphatic points down the stretch.
Oakdale shot 60 percent in the second half (15-for-25) and 44 percent for the game.
“Once we break zones, and get teams man-on-man, that’s what we really want,” Schlee said, who also added three rebounds.
Sean Jodrie grabbed 10 rebounds for Oakdale. Lang paced Linganore (6-3) with 14 points.
Oakdale will host Frederick, who is coming off an upset win over No. 6 Tuscarora, on Thursday.