By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
Oxford High School’s 2021-22 academic year is still four weeks away, but the basketball teams already know their Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) district assignments for the upcoming winter season.
Steve Laidlaw’s boys’ program was placed in District No. 4 at Davison High School, where they will be joined by the host Cardinals, Flint Kearsley Hornets, Grand Blanc Bobcats and Lapeer Lightning.
Led by 2022 small forward Ty Rodgers – a four-star prospect and the state’s second-best player in the recruiting cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite – Grand Blanc captured the MHSAA Division 1 State Championship in 2020-21.
Davison, who Inside the OAA’s Sammy Taormina pegs as Grand Blanc’s toughest competition in the Saginaw Valley League, is entering their first season under decorated head coach Mike Williams, a winner of six MHSAA Division 3 State Championships and 13 regional titles during his 17 seasons guiding the Flint Beecher Buccaneers.
This will be the Wildcats’ first postseason road trip since the 2019-20 campaign – when they went to Clarkston – as Oxford’s Ian Smith Gymnasium hosted MHSAA District No. 5 in 2020-21.
The 2020-21 Wildcats finished 4-10 and 1-5 in the Oakland Activities Association (OAA) Blue Division.
2021 combo guard Mason Mulholland – who posted six 20-point games, including a career-high 33 in a January loss to the Romeo Bulldogs – led the team in scoring at 17.3 points-per-game.
Mulholland’s graduation will be a lot for Oxford to replace, but the team returns several promising, high-upside players, highlighted by 2022 guard Alec Brown, center Bryce Esman, and power forward Mitch Viviano and 2023 small forwards Logan Rozanski and Dylan Stone.
The assignment is the exact same for Rachel Bryer’s girls’ program, with the Wildcats voyaging to Davison, paired with the Cardinals, Flint Kearsley, Grand Blanc and Lapeer.
Bryer’s girls took a step forward in 2020-21, ending their year at 9-5 and 7-3 in the OAA Blue. Last season’s team also was sent to Genesee County for postseason play at Grand Blanc.
Oxford is tasked with replacing their two leading scorers from a year ago, as Mackenzie “Mackie” Methner and Emma Morris both graduate.
A four-year starter at point guard, Methner averaged 11 points-per-game, with Morris right on her heels at 10.8.
Methner is enrolled at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, studying medical sonography, while Morris is playing softball for the Lake Erie Storm, a member of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC), in Painesville, Ohio.
As for returnees, 2023 shooting guard/small forward Miranda Wyniemko, 2024 power forward/center Payton Richter, and 2022 guard Kayla Casper sit atop the list of projected contributors.
A left-hander capable of knocking down 3-pointers and scoring in the lane, Wyniemko was the Wildcats’ third-leading scorer in 2020-21 at 7.5 points-per-game and has the potential to develop into one of the best players in the OAA.
Richter was the team’s best rebounder as a freshman and averaged 3.2 points, while Casper saw spurts of playing time and is fun to watch on both ends of the floor.
2024 guard Braydee Elling, who was called up to the varsity roster for the final two games of 2020-21 after finding great success on the junior varsity team, is another name to watch.
By Teddy Rydquist