The Oxford Wildcats girls’ basketball program played their annual alumni game on Dec. 29 at the Ian Smith Gymnasium. Eight alums spanning 17 graduating classes from 2003 to 2019, as well as two assistant coaches, teamed up to battle the current varsity squad.
While the game is purely for the sake of entertainment and fun, it turned out to be an ultra-competitive contest. The varsity team crept out to a 21-18 halftime cushion, but the alums took advantage of the two 20-minute half format, taking a 27-26 lead with 13 minutes to play.
The exhibition was back-and-forth after that, resulting in a tie at 41-apiece with one minute remaining. Showing she
still had a feel for her old stomping grounds, Jessica Murphy (’15) buried a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the alums the win, 44-41.
Following her graduation from Oxford High School half-a-decade ago, Murphy furthered her academic and athletic careers by competing for the Wayne State Lady Warriors basketball team in Detroit.
“It was great being back on our home floor,” said Skye Donaldson (’15), a current assistant coach for the varsity team.
“Especially with Cherilyn (Banas, ‘15) and Jess (Murphy). It’s been four years since we’ve all been on the same court together, it was awesome to rewind the clock a couple of years and have a little fun.”
Interacting with the present Lady Wildcats on a nearly daily basis, Donaldson’s role on the staff allowed her to take in this game from a unique angle. “The three weeks leading up to this game, I was talking a lot of trash and trying to get them riled up about playing,” she joked.
“Some of the girls dished it right back and showed up — it was refreshing to see that from something other than a coach’s perspective.”
For head coach Rachel Bryer, who served as an official for the game, this was an opportunity to see girls from her first couple of years on the job square off against her current pupils. “The alumni were really excited to get back on the floor and play again,” she said.
“The last part of the game, we had four girls out there who all played together and graduated with Skye. They were so excited to be back out there together, it was really nice to see.”
Off to a strong start, the 2019-20 Lady Wildcats stand at 4-2 overall (1-1 Oakland Activities Association White). The girls returned to action yesterday (Jan. 7) against the Troy Athens Red Hawks. Joining Avondale as one of two unbeaten teams in the division, Troy Athens currently occupies the top spot in the OAA White. Results of Tuesday’s contest were not available at presstime. On Thursday (Jan. 9) Oxford will travel to Rochester Adams. On Tuesday, Jan. 14, they head to Avondale.