UTICA, Ohio -- In what was a hard fought game between two bottom-dwelling teams, Horizon Science persisted through the turnover frenzy of the second half and pulled out a 42-36 win over Utica on the road.
The game started off as a back and forth affair, with each team trading buckets and body blows in what ended up being a physical first quarter. After a late surge by the Redskins to close out the quarter on the backs of a Dakota Woodard three, Utica led 15-13. Horizon Science junior wing guard Kalvin Williams paced the Hawks with two threes in the opening period.
The second quarter was defined by the defensive rise of both teams, as each were held to less than 10 points in what amounted to a 24-20 Horizon Science lead at half after a comeback orchestrated by the incredible rebounding of sophomore center Ansouma Oulare. The sturdy 6-foot-4 center was an absolute wrecking ball on the boards all night and gobbled up nearly everything that came his way on Thursday. Though he didn’t start the game, the sophomore was the Hawks rock in the middle throughout the entire game.
Oulare continued his dominance on the glass into the second half as well. The Hawks began to pull away on the back of the sophomore’s defense, who was well on his way to a double-double at that point, but a made three by Utica sophomore Collin McCullough cut the lead to three, with the Redskins trailing 32-29 going into the final frame.
The fourth quarter saw the Hawks jump out to a lead that they did not look back from. Horizon Science used its athleticism to stretch the Redskins out past half court on defense and force them into turnovers, which they took advantage of with fast-break lay-ins and drawn fouls. While Horizon Science had trouble converting on many of their attempts at the line, Utica’s offense could not capitalize on their extra possessions and failed to close the lead until the final minute, when two meaningless threes by the Redskins fell in with less than 20 seconds left. Horizon Science ended up pulling out the victory 42-36.
Utica had a tough time offensively all night and no player really took control of the offensive load at any point during the game. The Redskins were led in scoring by senior Corbin Wygle with seven points, followed by McCullough and fellow sophomore Brock Pfister with six each. Utica falls to 2-7 on the year with the loss.
The Hawks of Horizon Science were led in scoring by Oulare, who finished with 11 points to go along with a game-high 18 rebounds, as well as Williams, who also had 11 points with six boards. Horizon Science climbs to 3-7 with the road victory.
Ansouma Oulare (6’4 C / Horizon Science / 2021): The big man had himself a day inside against the overmatched Utica squad, absolutely dominating the glass on his way to nearly 20 rebounds. Oulare did not start, but flashed his potential as soon as he entered the game, showing a soft inside touch with two quick baskets around the rim and muscling his way to contested rebounds on both ends. The sophomore ate up almost everything on the glass during the second half and had a stretch where he had two athletic blocks and recoveries on back to back possessions, allowing for his Hawks squad to get out and running and extend the lead. Oulare has many aspects of his game that need major development, two of which being his footwork and free-throw shooting, but the young center showed an overall knack for rebounding and sneaky lateral quickness that displayed his potential. Horizon Science will rely on the inside presence of Oulare for the next three seasons as he continues to develop his overall game and clean the glass for the Hawks.
Kalvin Williams (6’4 WG / Horizon Science / 2020): The lanky Williams showed a diverse skill set at various points in the game that look to be promising. Though the junior was the Hawks' second tallest player, he was the ball dominant guard down the stretch for the team and was entrusted with running his team’s sets and creating off the dribble. Williams was just as comfortable pulling up from three, of which he made two, as he was slashing to the hoop off a two-step or pull-up, and his growing confidence was on full display as Horizon Science’s primary playmaker. The junior also had a productive night on the boards and uses his explosiveness and positioning to gain contested rebounds on both ends. Look for Williams to be the leader of this Hawks offense during the course of the season and challenge their opponents with his unique game.