Ondera, Oak Hill beat Ada to reach state title game

Published 3:05 am Friday, March 27, 2009

COLUMBUS — The first time was sweet for Oak Hill.

Kyle Ondera had a brilliant all-around game, scoring 20 points and directing traffic, to lead the Oaks to a 55-46 victory over Ada on Friday in a Division IV state semifinal in Oak Hill’s first appearance at the state tournament.

The Oaks (24-2) advance to meet Kalida (23-4), a 57-46 winner over Cleveland Heights Lutheran East, in the championship game on Saturday morning.

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Cody Cannon chipped in with 11 points.

Ada (22-4) was making its first trip to the state finals since the inaugural tournament in 1923. Aaron Cross scored 19 points for the Bulldogs.

Ahead 14-13 early in the second quarter, the Oaks scored the next 13 points to pull away.

Ondera had two baskets in the run, as did Jesse Slone. Ryan Borden added a 3-pointer and second-team all-stater J.D. Hale, saddled with foul trouble much of the game, contributed an inside bucket.

Ondera finished 5-of-11 from the field, including 1-of-3 on 3-pointers and 9-of-11 at the line. He also had four assists, five rebounds and five steals in a full 32 minutes.

The Oaks shot 53 percent from the field.

Just a week ago, Oak Hill’s girls made it to the state tournament and advanced to the state Division III finals before falling to South Euclid Regina. Oak Hill is the only school to send teams to both the boys and girls state tournaments this year.

After waiting 86 years between state trips, Ada never got closer than six points after the Oak Hill surge. The Bulldogs missed their first 11 3-point attempts before Cross hit three of them in the final 5 minutes. They finished 4-of-18 behind the arc.

The Bulldogs had lost in the first round, 15-13, to Lorain in the first-ever state tournament in 1923, which was held at the Fairgrounds Coliseum in Columbus.