Beginning their campaign with a road tilt, the revamped Oxford Wildcats boys’ basketball team traveled to battle the Walled Lake Central Vikings on Dec. 12.
Widening the margin in the second half, the Wildcats rolled to a 59-36 victory. Perhaps battling some first game of
the season nerves, Oxford found themselves down, 8-2 and 11-6, in the first quarter before finding their stride.
Energizing the Wildcats with three dunks in the second and third quarters, senior Trey Townsend posted a double-double with a career-high 32 points and 11 rebounds.
With Trey’s brother, junior Zach Townsend, out of town for a soccer showcase, juniors Trent Brown and Mason Mulholland stepped up in their first extended taste of varsity action.
“We started off relatively slow,” head coach Steve Laidlaw observed. “Fell behind early but were able to take a 14-13 lead after one. We switched up our defense, gave them a bit of a 1-3-1 look, and took a double-digit lead into the half.”
While several players contributed to the effort, it was the play of Townsend that swung the tide in Oxford’s favor.
“We had been trading baskets with them into the second quarter, but then Trey had his first dunk,” Laidlaw explained. “The game totally turned after that and next thing I know, we were up by 30 points.
“At one point there, we went on a 20-2 run. Our next leading scorer behind Trey’s 32 was Brown with six, but we had numerous guys with four and five points.”
In the fourth year of his second stint as the Wildcats’ coach, the victory was Laidlaw’s 100th at the helm of the program.
“Just goes to show you I’ve coached a lot of years,” he said humbly.
An Oxford High School graduate himself, Laidlaw’s transformation of the Wildcats’ program over the last four years is the largest reason why Oxford basketball has been able to reach new heights. One of the best coaches in Southeast Michigan, he will have plenty of time to continue adding to his total and moving up the charts.
“I think this upcoming week will tell us a lot about our team,” Laidlaw added. “We play Avondale and then Lake Orion, if we could go into Christmas Break 3-0, that would be really nice.”
The first opportunity for fans to see the boys at home, the Wildcats host the Yellow Jackets on Tuesday, Dec. 17 followed by another home date with the Dragons on Thursday, Dec. 19. Both contests begin at 7 p.m.