Wildcats knock off rival Lake Orion, 44-35

Your 2020-21 Oxford Wildcats girls’ basketball team. From left, senior team manager Madison Pileski, senior Jordan Hung (10), senior Mackenzie “Mackie” Methner (14), senior Emma Morris (32), senior Makenzie Brown (20), senior Brooke Zeiter (30), sophomore Miranda Wyniemko (24), senior Charlotte McClenaghan (34), senior Payton Szymanski (22), junior Kayla Casper (42), freshman Payton Richter (40), junior Ivana Milosavlevski (44), and freshman Lexy Yankee (12)

By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
The Oxford Wildcats girls’ basketball team bookended their first week of the season with losses to Rochester on February 9 and Farmington four days later, but the home game in the middle, which came on February 12, was a major positive.
Jumping out to an early lead, propelled by four first-half 3-pointers from left-handed sophomore Miranda Wyniemko, the Wildcats defeated the rival Lake Orion Dragons, 44-35.
This was the second-straight year Oxford has taken care of business against Lake Orion, who is a fellow Oakland Activities Association (OAA) Blue Division member, at the Ian Smith Gymnasium.
Wyniemko finished with a game-high 14 points, while seniors Mackenzie “Mackie” Methner and Emma Morris added 12 and 10, respectively.
Sophomore Kylie Heck led the Dragons with 10, with classmate Taylor Dinda pitching in six.
“Our defense has actually been pretty good,” Lake Orion head coach Bob Brydges said. “We gave up 44 points tonight, but we gave up 21 in the fourth quarter, and a lot of that is free throws and fouling.
“I looked up there, and they got seven seniors. I have three and they don’t even all start, I mean, two of them start, but I played six sophomores tonight. So, we’re in good shape, we just got to keep playing, we’ll learn from this.
“We shot 53 percent from inside the paint on Tuesday (in their 48-42 victory over the Berkley Bears), and tonight, we were 4-for-22, so, big difference.”
Looking at the Dragons’ roster, Brydges certainly appears to be correct about the team being positioned for success over the next two-to-three seasons. In addition to Dinda and Heck, Madeleine Ebbert, Chloe Wiegers, and Audrey Wischmeyer are all sophomores.
“Our hustle, our energy, and our willingness to keep pushing,” Wildcats head coach Rachel Bryer said of the areas she is happy with early in the year.
“At this point in the season, coming off one day of true practice and having a game, you can’t ask for anything else from a team than to push hard and do their best, and they’re doing it. I have no girls that want to slack or be hesitant on the floor, they all want to be there, they all want to come to practice, it’s great.”
Wyniemko, affectionately nicknamed “Reggie” by her teammates, was on the team as a freshman, seeing playing time off the bench. The Lake Orion game represented her first career start and she took full advantage of the opportunity.
“Miranda played an awesome game today,” Bryer said. “She did a lot in the offseason to get prepared for the season, and she really wants to be a starter and a top girl on the team, she’s been putting a lot of work in. I know she plays a lot of AAU basketball now, so, she’s been working hard.”
Standing at 1-2 (1-1 OAA Blue), Oxford was scheduled to host the OAA White’s Rochester Adams Highlanders on Monday, February 15, but the game was postponed until Tuesday, March 16 due to inclement weather.
The Wildcats’ next game will come on Thursday, February 18, at home, against Berkley at 7 p.m., followed by a trip to Avondale High School to battle the Yellow Jackets at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 23.
Both Berkley and Avondale are OAA Blue opponents.

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