By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
With a finishing touch on a sparkling season, the Oxford Middle School eighth grade girls’ Blue basketball team defeated the Gold team, 32-10, Oct. 30 at the Ian Smith Gymnasium on the campus of Oxford High School.
Led by head coach Tim Collins and assistant Meagan Roy, the girls posted a perfect 12-0 record, winning all but two of their contests by double-digits. Holding their opponents to an average of just 14.8 points per game, the girls’ effort on the defensive end set the tone for the team’s success. Serving as the point guard and floor general, Keira Billis was one of the driving forces behind this.
“We came to play defensively really all year long, and Keira led that,” Collins said. “She gave guards on other teams fits. There were times where they couldn’t get the ball up the court for possessions at a time because she would put so much pressure on them. She’s a very talented kid. Anything you would ask her to do, she would do it.”
Showcasing a combination of size and ballhandling that will translate well at the next level, Peyton Richter also established herself throughout the season.
“Peyton led the charge down low, blocked a lot of shots for us,” Collins said. “She’s almost six-feet tall, can haul in a rebound and take it the length of the court and she can shoot the three. Along with Keira, she was one of our leaders – especially as far as scoring goes.”
Coaching basketball at a variety of levels for almost two decades, the cohesiveness and positivity this group displayed stood out to Collins. “I’ve coached middle school before, had undefeated teams. Even on your best teams, you always have little things you must deal with. There was never one issue with this team. Our girls got along and were always ready to go at practice. They were definitely a goofy group because they were all friends, but they were ready when it was time to go and were great teammates. In my nearly 20 years coaching, this was my favorite team I’ve ever coached. At any level, I’ve been a lot of places and this one stands out as my favorite.”
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Coached by Jake Trotter, the seventh grade Blue girls went a flawless 12-0, as well. Both Gold teams ended their campaigns with 9-3 records. The mother-daughter pairing of Nina and Gabby Dinges guided the seventh graders, while Dave Crane and Darian Graves oversaw the eighth graders.
Totaling a combined record of 42-6, the four Oxford Middle School teams won a collective 87.5% of their games.