WALES — The first two possessions were a preview of what was to come for the rest of Tuesday’s Mountain Valley Conference boys’ basketball game between Winthrop and Oak Hill. The Ramblers opened with a put-back layup thanks to their height, and the Raiders counted with a 3-pointer.

Probability of statistics then took over, and Winthrop’s 1s and 2s did more damage than Oak Hill’s 3s in a 55-45 victory.

“We like to get the ball to our bigs because higher-percentage shots and we’re able to force the other team into foul trouble, and we kind of did that tonight,” Winthrop coach Todd MacArthur said.

The Ramblers’ 6-foot-8 junior center Cam Wood was a handful, but the Raiders (4-7) were able to hold him to just two points in the first quarter and seven points by halftime.

“We game-planned to make sure there was always somebody on the back and front of him,” Oak Hill coach Tom Smith said. “The height really didn’t bother us. We just missed some shots.”

Cohen Donnell’s 3 on the Raiders’ first possession proved to be the only lead for Oak Hill, but the Raiders were able to keep it close into the fourth quarter. They trailed by four after one quarter, and five after both the second and third.

“They’re resilient,” MacArthur said. “I thought there were times in the game that we got the momentum and we had a chance to pull away and kind of get it to a point where they couldn’t come back, but they fought. They don’t quit, they’re resilient and they made the shots. They made some 3s that really hurt us, and they were able to respond every time that we made a run.”

The Ramblers (10-2) spread the scoring out in the first quarter, but it was Wood and 6-3 classmate Nate Leblanc that combined for all nine of their points in the second. Wood out-did Leblanc by one point thanks to making 1 of 3 free throws after getting fouled on a long buzzer-beater try to end the half.

Oak Hill quickly chipped away at the 21-16 deficit to start the third. Darryn Bailey and Gavin Rawstron made layups on the first two possessions to cut it to one. Rawstron later hit a 3 halfway through the quarter to tie the game 25-25.

“Gavin usually gets in the flow of the game, and then he figures out what he can and cannot do,” Smith said.

The freshman’s scoring ability was key for the Raiders in the third. He poured in eight of his 11 points in the period, with his 3 and later floater bookending a 7-0 Winthrop run.

A couple young Ramblers accounted for much of Winthrop’s offense in the frame. Sophomore’s Jevin Smith and Ryan Baird both scored six points in the third while Oak Hill was keeping Wood and Leblanc quiet (four points combined).

Smith said he liked the way his defense played. The Raiders employed a 1-3-1 zone for the first time this season and it limited Winthrop to 37 points through three quarters — which was within comfortable striking distance for Oak Hill, according to Smith.

The Ramblers were able to pull away in the fourth, however, thanks to their work from the free-throw line. They hit 14 of 19 fouls shots in the fourth, with Wood making all four of his.

“We did what we were supposed to do, and settle down and finish the job,” MacArthur said.

Smith said the obvious lesson for his team was “Not foul so much.”

“We just got to play defense the proper way, don’t foul, box out,” Smith said.

Wood finished with a team-high 16 points for Winthrop, with Leblanc adding 13. Donnell led all scorers with 17, including four 3s.

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