December 28, 2011 - Varsity girls basketball coach Steve Emert headed into the winter break with a smile on his face following a 44-31 victory over Imlay City on Wednesday, Dec. 21.
"We played very well," Emert said. "We've been hitting a flat spot in the third quarter and we played through that flat spot, and I'm very proud of the girls to play through that and the confidence we built.
After leading by four entering halftime, 27-23, Oxford held Imlay City to eight total second half points to break the game open.
Freshmen Jessica Murphy led Oxford with 12 points. Senior Michelle Gilmore contributed nine points.
"We saw some cuts we haven't been seeing, some good all around play - we boxed out very well on the boards (and junior) Meagan Neff came off the bench and played an excellent game," Emert said.
Emert added the win was a good confidence builder with the Wildcats heading into league play against Farmington Hills Harrison on Thursday, Jan. 5.
"It's critical for us going into this break and the girls having a win, it makes that Christmas break a lot easier when you are going into a win," he said. "They are all positive thoughts going into that next game."
He added the girls confidence with the system and each other was going to be a key heading forward.
"You just have to work on the confidence and building their confidence in themselves and their teammates, and that is what we are working on, getting that tradition back the way it should be," Emert said.
"When they step on the floor, no matter what quarter it is, they are going to win that quarter," he added.
On Monday, Dec. 19, the girls put up a good fight against Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes for three quarters, but lost 50-34.
The Wildcats showed they were not to be taken lightly as they were able to hang with WOLL and take a 21-17 lead heading into halftime.
However, Oxford's league wouldn't last long as WOLL came out of halftime and pounded the Wildcats in the third quarter, outscoring them 18-4.
Murphy led the Wildcats with nine points.
Emert thought his girls played "not to lose" basketball in that third quarter.
"They are up by four, so lets do everything right so we don't lose this lead instead of saying lets go a little bit further, lets step it up, lets put our foot on the accelerator and step our game up one more level," he said.
According to Emert, he is beginning to see that "play to win" attitude more and more in practice.
With the split week, the Wildcats bumped their record up to 2-6.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.