CINCINNATI, Ohio — The Battle of the Westside took place last night and the atmosphere was second to none. Last year in the game, Elder held Oak Hills to six points in the third quarter and was able to walk away victorious by a final score of 45-31. However, the Highlanders were able flip that script in the matchup this year.
Despite what looked to be an ankle injury to junior guard and one of the top scorers in the Greater Miami Conference in Adonis Caneris of Oak Hills, the home team was able to get off to an early advantage over the Panthers. Despite Elder junior forward David Larkins making his presence felt with a few buckets inside right out of the gate, Highlanders Head Coach Mike Price was able to get some contributions from a few of his guys in the first quarter in which they would win 12-7. It was senior guard Kelen Dietrich who was the high point man as his aggressiveness got him to the line and could have played a pivotal role in what was to come.
Dietrich delivered 8 points in the second quarter thanks in part to a couple of successful three point attempts. The 6-foot-1 guard that will head to Delta State after this season was up to 12 points overall and was a key cog in the Oak Hills 29-23 lead over the Panthers and junior forward Scotty Nieman (six point quarter) at the break.
Coming out of the half, Elder was well within striking distance in this one. However, the Highlanders came out of the locker room and made a major statement. Oak Hills was able to hold the Panthers to just two points and outscored the purple and white by 16 points in the quarter. The aforementioned Caneris, who missed some time earlier in the contest, exploded for nine points in the frame and ultimately was able to distance his team from Elder as they would enter the fourth up 47-25.
In the end, Dietrich and Caneris were able to ice the game from the free throw line and the Highlanders were able to slam the door shut on the Panthers. As the final horn rang, Oak Hills comfortably came out on top by a final of 63-41 to move to 10-4 on the season.
For Elder, they move to 7-7 on the season and get set to see La Salle at home on Friday. In this one, the Panthers were led by a pair of junior forwards in David Larkins and Scotty Nieman. Both finished with nine points a piece.
The Highlanders got a well timed 20 point night from Adonis Caneris — his third outing this year reaching that mark. Kelen Dietrich added 18 points and junior guard Austin Dennis pitched in with 11 points of his own. Oak Hills will have a conference matchup on Friday as they head to Colerain to face the 1-12 Cardinals.