NEW MARTINSVILLE - For three quarters Saturday afternoon, Oak Glen gave Roane County High School all it could handle in boys' high school basketball action.
Unfortunately, for Coach Vince Gilliam and his Golden Bears it was a 25-7 first quarter deficit that was eventually the difference maker.
Senior Austin Nichols tallied 26 points and the Raiders opened up a big lead early and held on to post a 75-65 victory against Oak Glen in the opening contest of the Region One AA Rotary Challenge at Magnolia High School.
Nichols actually scored 15 of his 26 points in the opening quarter as Roane (9-6) took off and never looked back. The Raiders canned five 3-pointers in the opening quarter and only had one turnover.
But things started turning around a little for the Bears (2-14) in the second chapter as the Raiders made just three shots and committed eight miscues. Oak Glen actually went to the half down 34-22.
Another rally early in the third cut the margin to five at 39-34, but while the Golden Bears managed to stay within striking distance, they got no closer.
Gilliam was happy with his team's overall effort, but disappointed with the start.
"That has been this team's history all year," he said. "For some reason we just aren't ready to play in the first quarter and the other team jumps all over us.
"But these kids scrapped (Saturday), played hard and never quit, and they never do."
Oak Glen had four double-figure scorers with Jeff Hissam leading the way with 17. Matthew McLaughlin added 14 and Taylor Kincaid and David McGraw evenly divided 22.