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Oaks rally to get trip to state tournament

ATHENS (AP) — J.D. Hale tallied 27 points and 11 rebounds as Oak Hill beat Newark Catholic 56-52 in a Division IV regional final on Friday at Ohio University.

The Oaks (23-2) trailed 27-23 at halftime but rallied in the third quarter with a 15-3 run. Kyle Ondera finished with 15 points, and Jesse Slone added 13.

Matt Dawson had 22 points to lead Newark (21-5), which shot only 28 percent from the floor in the second half. The Green Wave fought back to within three on a 3-pointer by Chris Leibold with 10 seconds left but ran out of time.

Leibold and Kevin Cox finished with 9 points each for Newark.

This marks not only the first trip to the boys’ state tournament for the Oaks, but veteran head coach Norm Persin as well.

Persin began his career at Oak Hill, spent two seasons at Wilmington, and then coached 21 years at Chesapeake before returning to the Oaks three years ago.

Persin has won more than 500 career games.