By Dave Morrison

CLEAR FORK – He didn’t draw it up that way but it worked, so Westside coach Shawn Jenkins will take it.

Evan Colucci drained a buzzer-beating 3-pointer Friday night as Westside overcame a 16-point third quarter deficit to beat Oak Hill 56-53.

The final sequence of the game, a two-dribble, six-pass tour de force in the final 8.9 seconds, wasn’ the play Jenkins called because of a tipped inbounds pass, and near steal, by Oak Hill senior point guard Jason Manns.

“When he knocked it out-of-bounds there, the play I called, we didn’t have enough time to run it,” Jenkins said of the deflection, which ran close to two seconds off the clock. “I just told them, ‘Come on, let’s try to see what kind of shot we can get and we happened to get a good one.

“Great shot by Evan. I’m proud of him for not hesitating. He was looking for it and he was ready to fire.”

Colucci’s splashdown game-winner didn’t come without a little trepidations, despite the way his shot looked.

“I was a little bit scared to shoot it,” Colucci said. “I was nervous. I thought I left it a little bit short but it ended up being perfect.”

Oak Hill coach Benitez Jackson thought he had the defense he needed but a breakdown occurred.

“We wanted to extend the zone but our back guy ran back in when they passed the ball back to the top instead of staying out,” Jackson said.

That allowed guard Daniel Reed to make one more pass to a wide open Colucci who hit the game winner to give Westside the much needed win.

Westside’s defense led the comeback in the fourth quarter.

Oak Hill started the third quarter the way they started the game. Hot. After Evan Colucci made the first basket of the third to cut Oak Hill’s lead to seven, 30-23, Oak Hill went on a 9-0 run, capped off by Jacob Perdue’s fifth 3 pointer of the game.

The run gave Oak Hill a 39-23 lead. It gave Jenkins cause to send a message, a la  Woodrow Wilson coach Dave Barksdale in the 1993 state tournament comeback against Brooke, when he pulled the starters out and put in five new players. 

The plan worked as well as it did for Woodrow Wilson 27 years ago.

The mostly JV unit held Oak Hill scoreless over a two-minute span, and while they didn’t score they did not lose ground.

When Westside’s starters returned at the 4:05 mark the message was received.

“Of course you’re trying to get your guys to play, you’re trying to get your guys a little upset, a little mad that they go, ‘OK, we’ve got to play,’” Jenkins said. “And it works that way. I did it with (his son) Shane and them when he played. I remember going down (the bench) counting five and sending them in because the starters weren’t performing. It sends a message that they need to get their act together.”

An Evan Colucci deuce followed by back-to-back Ethan Blackburn 3s cut the lead back to eight.

Perdue and Hunter Rinehart hit back-to-back3s (for the second time in the game)and that pushed it back to 14.

But the wakeup call was answered.

The Oak Hill lead was 11, 46-35, after three quarters.

But the Renegades promptly went on a 13-2 run to open the fourth quarter. Daniel Reed tied it with a basket and after an Oak Hill turnover, Reed untied it with a 3 with 3:33 left. Jace Colucci had a basket to push the lead to 53-48.

Oak Hill wasn’t done. Jason Manns hit a 3 with 1:02 left and after a miss by Westside on the other end, his drive and deuce tied it at 53 with 16 seconds left.

That set the stage for Evan Colucci to win it.

Oak Hill broke out in front early, scoring 17 straight points after Blackburn opened the scoring. Everything was coming in 3s over the nearly four-minute run. Jacob Perdue hit three 3s and had an old-fashioned three-point play and Manns added a 3-pointer before Blackburn ended the run near the end of the first quarter with a 3.

That started a 14-3 run that cut the lead to 20-16 but late in the half Rinehart and Perdue hit back-to-back 3s to push the halftime lead to 30-21.

Perdue had a huge half, with 18 of Oak Hill’s 30 points and he finished with 26, including six 3s.

“He can shoot it man, they’re a pretty good shooting team,” Jenkins said. “Credit to them but our defense … I told our assistant coaches before the game we are lackadaisical in everything we do and if we don’t pick it up this could get bad. But in the first quarter we missed so many buckets, so many layups and transition points it just seemed like we couldn’t get one to fall.”

Rinehart, who had two more 3s, now has 35 field goals, all of them 3s.

Ethan Blackburn led the Renegades with 19 points. Evan Colucci added 11, Jace Colucci nine and eight rebounds.

The victory snapped a five-game losing streak for the Renegades (6-7). For the Red Devils (4-9) it was another late loss.

“We have to learn how to close people out,” Jackson said.

Westside hosts Mingo Central Saturday at 7:30 p.m. It will be Little Renegade night. Oak Hill is at Princeton on Tuesday.

Westside 56, Oak Hill 53

Oak Hill (5-9)

Jacob Perdue 9 2-2 26, Jason Manns 3 0-0 8, Hunter Rinehart 2 1-2 7, Samuel Crist 0 0-0 0, Omar Lewis 1 0-0 2, Darrion McDowell 3 0-1 6, Camden Craddock 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 20 3-5 53

Westside (6-7)

Jace Colucci 4 0-0 9, Daniel Reed 3 0-0 8, Ethan Blackburn 7 0-1 19, Evan Colucci 5 0-0 11, Tommy Milam 0 2-2 2, Shandell Adkins 3 1-2 7, Wesley Browning 0 0-0 0, Noah Lusk 0 0-0 0, Ryan Anderson 0 0-0 0, Parker Rolfe 0 0-0 0, Blake Goode 0 0-0 0, Logan Shumate 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 22 3-5 56

Oak Hill              17      13      16       7   –   53

Westside             5      16      14     21   –   56

Three-point field goals – OH: 10 (Perdue 6, Manns 2, Rinehart 2) W: 9 (J. Colucci 1, Reed 2, Blackburn 5, E. Colucci 1). Fouled out – OH: Omar Lewis.