January 18, 2012 - Defense was the name of the game during the varsity boys basketball team's consecutive blowout victories over Rochester Hills Stoney Creek and Brandon last week.
Brandon's game on Friday, Jan. 13 against the Wildcats turned into a nightmare as Wildcat senior guard Jacques Toussaint sliced and diced his way to an impressive stat sheet - 20 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals - in a 61-38 win over the Blackhawks.
"Probably played one of his better all-around games," varsity coach Paul Marfia said of Toussaint. "It was a real mismatch on the guard position. He muscled his way in (the lane) all night long."
Following an offensive explosion in the first quarter, which saw the Wildcats take a 20-13 lead, it was the defense's turn to take over. The Wildcats limited Brandon to four total points in second quarter, stretching their lead to 37-17 by halftime.
From there, Oxford was on cruise control, according to Marfia.
"It was avenging a big loss we had last year...it was good for the kids," Marfia said.
Oxford outrebounded Brandon 44-25 in the game.
Senior Mark Hazelwood scored 13 points, while senior Michael Kitchner had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Oxford never took their foot off the gas pedal in their 49-28 victory over Stoney Creek on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
They led 14-4 after the first quarter, and expanded the lead to 25-14 by halftime.
Oxford continued to stretch their lead in the second half, outscoring the Cougars 15-9 in the third quarter and nine to five in the fourth.
"We did a good job of challenging shots and making low-percentage shots for them," Marfia said.
Oxford also controlled the boards, as they held a 34-18 rebounding edge in the game.
Toussaint led Oxford with 13 points and four assists.
Senior Nate Brubaker contributed four points and a team high six rebounds, while seniors Javante Evans and Zack Raisch each had two points and six rebounds for Oxford.
During the Wildcats three game winning streak, the fourth quarter defense has been lights out. According to Marfia, Oxford has given up a combined 17 points - eight against Brandon, five against Stoney Creek and four against Rochester Adams - in the fourth quarter.
"The big focus has been how are we finishing games...those are big things of how we can hang our hat on that we are getting better," Marfia said.
"That has been the biggest reason for this turnaround and this winning streak right now. We have really taken some pride in our defense," he added.
With the victories, Oxford improves to 5-3 on the season. Oxford opened up Oakland Activities Association Gold division play with a game at Royal Oak on Tuesday, Jan. 17 and will travel to Birmingham Groves to battle the Falcons on Friday, Jan. 20.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.