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Oak Hill escapes Vikings

WILLOW WOOD — Close. Oh so close.

Facing the Division IV defending state champion Oak Hill Oaks in their opener, the Symmes Valley Vikings were undaunted.

The Vikings took an early lead and then got within a point at the end of the third quarter before falling 57-49 Friday.

“We were down one at the end of the third quarter and if we could have got a basket and the lead, who knows. We can’t complain. We did have a chance,” said Vikings’ coach Jerome Fuller who was making his coaching debut.

A key difference in the game came at the foul line where the Oaks converted 20 of 37 shots while the Vikings were just 2 of 4.

Kyle Ondera had 21 points — he was 12 of 22 at the line — to lead the Oaks. Jesse Slone had 12 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists while Westen Hale had 10 points. Austin Brown grabbed 8 rebounds.

Luke Taylor had 19 points and 6 rebounds for the Vikings. Kris Tibbs had 14 points and 4 rebounds.

Symmes Valley came out and took a 14-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Oaks stormed back to take a 30-25 lead at the break.

Taylor had 9 points in the third quarter as the Vikings began to rally. Josh Craft hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 42-41.

But Symmes Valley scored just 8 points in the fourth quarter as the Oaks pulled away late.

“(Oak Hill) came out and hit some shots and we missed a few and then they hit some foul shots,” said Fuller.

“They’re going to be hard to beat. They were state champs and when you get into that part of the game, they have a lot of confidence.”

Oak Hill 9 21 12 15 = 57

Symmes Valley 14 11 16 8 = 49

OAK HILL (1-0): Chris Fairchild 1 0 0-0 2, Jesse Slone 5 0 2-5 12, Kyle Ondera 3 1 12-22 21, Westen Hale 2 1 3-5 10, Nick Gaines 0 1 0-0 3, Austin Brown 3 0 3-5 9. Totals: 14 3 20-37 57. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.

SYMMES VALLY (0-1): Drew Brock 0 0 0-1 0, Justin Payne 0 0 0-0 0, Kris Tibbs 4 2 0-0 14, Luke Taylor 7 1 2-3 19, Hunter Johnson 1 0 0-0 2, Josh Craft 1 2 0-0 8, Brandon Bowling 2 0 0-0 4, Ryan Stanley 1 0 0-0 2, Michael Ferris 0 0 0-0 0, Cory Brown 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 5 2-4 49. Fouls: 23. Fouled out: Brock, Payne, Taylor. Rebounds: 19 (Taylor 6, Tibbs 4).