Aidan Hall

Oak Hill’s Aidan Hall is back for his junior year as the Oaks hope to regain their winning form this season and make some noise in the SOC II.

OAK HILL — Last season was rough. Not up to the standards that Oak Hill had set for itself over the past 15 years.

However, the good part is that it’s over, and it’s a brand new year — one the Oaks have big plans in store for.

“There was a lot of inconsistency, though every team dealt with that. We competed in a lot of games, but lost a few in the final four minutes that were right there for the taking,” Oak Hill coach Heath McKinniss said. “We learned from those mistakes, and we’ve talked with the guys about how to handle those situations and correcting things to give ourselves chances.”

Luckily for the Oaks, most of those players who earned valuable varsity minutes are back and ready to make an impact.

Braylon Howell, Connor Clark and Aidan Hall are the three main guys who started most, if not every varsity game and will be asked to shoulder a significant role this season.

“Braylon was the only guy last season who had any varsity experience aside from Landon Hines, but he’s put in the work and has been a great leader,” McKinniss said. “Aidan saw a lot of time and gives us an option underneath at 6-foot-4 and Connor has been working hard ever since his freshman year to continue improving.”

Add in Gavin Howell, Kade Kinzel, Nathan Hall and Garrett McKinniss to the mix as well as players who will be looked at as major contributors.

However, Oak Hill also has more size down the line as Evan Fisher, Reagan Michael and Blade Reese add some additional height on the frontline.

“We went 10 players deep in the summer and it worked out really well. Hopefully it can remain that way throughout the season,” Heath McKinniss said. “We have a good mix of guys who can shoot, handle the ball and feed the ball inside as well. Our depth is a huge plus for us, especially for us being a somewhat experienced group.”

Despite just two wins last season, things appear to be looking up once again for Oak Hill as it boasts youthful experience.

Waverly appears to be the favorite in the SOC II with a number of returning players, and you can’t rule out Wheelersburg despite losing six players.

However, Oak Hill hung tough with both teams last season and isn’t backing down from any challenge this season. A season they hope ends with a title.

“Our short term is we want to get past two weeks. That’d be a great start just to build some confidence among our guys,” McKinniss said. “The guys are focused on one goal at a time, and ultimately, we want to give ourselves a chance to win the SOC II title when the regular season wraps us.”

Oak Hill opened its season Tuesday against Wellston, and returns to action on Friday for its home opener against Minford in SOC II action.

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