Last week was an up and down week for Oxford’s boys basketball team. They played two — won one big, but fell to cross-town rival, Lake Orion, rounding out the 2019 part of the season with a record of 2-1.
With Christmas vacation in full swing, the Wildcats will next be in action on Jan. 7 on the road against the Rochester Falcons. The team’s next home game is Jan. 14 vs. the Southfield A&T Warriors.
Their first matchup last week was against the Avondale Yellow Jackets in the Ian Smith Gym — Oxford’s home opener of the season, on Dec. 17
After a back-and-forth opening frame, Oxford stepped on the gas and cruised to a 72-30 victory. Leading 14-13 to begin the second quarter, the Wildcats used a 28-1 run to take a 42-14 lead into the halftime break.
One of 10 players to score for head coach Steve Laidlaw’s team, junior Zach Townsend tallied a game-high 20 points. This was his first appearance of the year after missing the season-opener due to a soccer showcase.
Zach’s older brother, senior Trey Townsend added 17 points and junior Trent Brown chipped in eight.
Improving to 2-0 with the win, the Wildcats next welcomed rival Lake Orion Dragons on Dec. 19. A member of the Oakland Activities Association’s Red Division, Oxford topped Lake Orion in both meetings a year ago.
This contest, however, would be different as the Dragons pulled off the 62-54 road victory. Tied at eight following the opening eight-minute quarter, Lake Orion led by seven at the half and by 12 after three frames.
The Wildcats pulled within single-digits in the third quarter but fell victim to a questionable technical foul call. Electing to not blow the whistle after some contact on one of Trey Townsend’s drives to the rim, the Oxford bench and many parents and fans voiced their displeasure at the officiating.
Hearing this as he ran back down court, one of the officials turned and called a bench technical, unable to distinguish exactly whom had said what.
While this hiccup did not help the Wildcats’ chances, the Dragons came in with a clear-cut game plan and executed it very well. Slowing down the pace of play, Lake Orion limited Oxford’s number of possessions and made them work for every rebound.
Senior Cam Sutton scored 20 points for the Dragons and junior Brennan Jones pitched in 16. Contributing 11 points, senior Dylan Boedigheimer was a force on the glass all night long.
“We’re such a young team,” Lake Orion head coach Joel Schroeder said. “Lake Orion is always known for defending well and with this being a rivalry, we knew we would have to bring our best.
“Man, Trey and his brother (Zach) can really fill it up, Oxford has a lot of firepower. We were lucky they missed some shots tonight, but I credit our defense for some of that, as well.”
Entering Christmas Break at 2-1 due to the loss, Laidlaw was not happy with his team’s sharpness on the offensive end.
“We took some horrible shots, weren’t moving, weren’t sharing,” he explained.
“It was incredibly disappointing to lose to our rivals; especially the way we did, we didn’t execute our plan whatsoever. One of the things we say is ‘Don’t give them rhythm threes.’ We did and No. 3 (Sutton) made us pay.”
A master motivator of young men, Laidlaw was able to end his postgame comments on a higher note.
“Christmas is a time to get better and that’s our focus. Let’s not forget the reason for the season.”