OHS Boys Basketball Continues Tradition of Success


Courtesy of Oberlin High School

The Oberlin High School boys’ basketball team finished another successful season.

The Oberlin High School boys’ basketball team finished another successful season earlier this month going 12–2 in conference play. The team’s season ended with a heartbreaking overtime loss to Fairview High School in the district semifinals, but there was much to be proud of, including a share of the Lorain County 8 championship. 

This successful basketball season helped continue a streak of personal accomplishments for Head Coach Kurt Russell this year, after he was named LC8 Coach of the Year in February. The recognition also came within the same academic year that he was named Ohio Teacher of the Year and a National Teacher of the Year finalist for his work as a social studies teacher at OHS. While teaching and coaching, Russell is never focused on personal awards. Still, he recognizes the importance of team successes like winning the conference. 

“It gives them a lot of confidence,” Russell said. “It can build up high self-esteem as well. It’s not about winning or losing for me, but it makes me happy for these young men.” 

Senior guard and Second-Team All-LC8 honoree Marius Harrell believes the team’s close-knit nature led them to success. 

“We started off not playing as a team as much, but we came together and started winning, sharing the ball more, and we got the conference championship,” Harrell said. 

Senior guard Andre Yarber, also named to the All-LC8 Second Team, was disappointed with how the season ended, but he’s proud of what the team accomplished. 

“I was most proud of how we came together towards the end,” Yarber said. “Even though we came up short in the district semis, we still worked together, and at the end of the day we’re still brothers. We’re still glad we got to put a banner on our wall for the conference [championship].”

The Phoenix, who have now secured three straight winning seasons, including a share of two conference championships during that span, look to continue their success despite losing seniors like Yarber, Harrell, and First-Team All-LC8 honoree Ty Locklear.

“We have some great young men — Marius, Andre, Ty, and Dayvion Witherspoon — who are all leaving,” Russell said. “We need to develop some younger guys, [which] we have not done a particularly great job at yet. This summer is going to be key for us to develop these younger kids.”

Next year’s boys’ basketball team will rely heavily on junior forward Isaac Thompson, who was named to the All-LC8 First-Team this year and dropped double-doubles in both of the team’s playoff games. 

Harrell, who plans to continue playing basketball after graduating, has high hopes for future OHS boys’ basketball teams. He does not put a trip to the state championship past them. 

“We want to see them go farther than we did,” Harrell said. “We want to see them go all the way to Columbus.”

Yarber — who is headed to Muskingum University next fall to play football after an accomplished career on the gridiron for the Phoenix — believes some members of the basketball team have to mature in order to continue the squad’s tradition of success. 

“What I hope to see is them become more mature,” Yarber said. “They’re a little younger than us so they aren’t as mature. I’m sure this summer [the coaches] will fix that.”