IJAMSVILLE — Terry Connolly and the Oakdale Bears boys basketball team are no strangers to success in the MPSSAA playoffs. Connolly has led the Bears to the state semifinals three out of the last four years, but going into the first round of the playoffs against Damascus on Friday, Oakdale found themselves hanging on to a five-point lead after the first quarter.
Needing a spark, the Bears amped up the intensity on both sides of the ball, and it worked in their favor. Oakdale embarked on a 21-0 run to open the second quarter to cruise past visiting Damascus, 87-50.
“They’ve got some guys that can stroke it,” Connolly said. “They didn’t come here to lay over and just let us win, so I thought we did some good things like tighten up defensively and offensively.”
The monstrous run by Oakdale swelled their lead to 26 midway through the second quarter. They outscored the Hornets by 23 in the quarter and held a 47-19 lead at halftime, thanks to sophomore guard Collin Schlee (13 points and three 3-pointers in the first half).
“I felt good in the Tuscarora game and I thought I would have to move the momentum going into the playoffs,” Schlee said, who finished with 16 points in the CMC title game this past Tuesday. “It feels good to have three 3’s and get a win.”
After the strong second quarter, Oakdale used the momentum to hold a consistent lead the rest of the game. Damascus tried to chip away at the deficit behind Mason Green (25 points), but it was not enough. The Bears offense didn’t let the foot off the pedal and increased their lead to 31 going into the fourth quarter.
Senior forward Sean Jordie led the second half charge with back-to-back three-point plays. He finished the night with 13 points and Oakdale used nine 3-pointers to roll to the 37-point rout.
With the win, the Bears now advance to the 3A West Section I semifinals and will host Westminster next Tuesday. The Owls are coming off of a 60-53 win over Manchester Valley.
“[We’ll prepare] the same way, with defense.” Schlee said. “We want to get the pace going up and down and hopefully we can get a win”