February 15, 2012 - The varsity boys basketball team knocked off one of their competitors for a division title after beating Birmingham Groves 54-50 during the annual Winterfest game on Friday, Feb. 10.
OHS senior Mark Hazelwood won’t let anyone stop him on
the court. Photo by Dan Shriner. (click for larger version)
"That was great for those kids," varsity head coach Paul Marfia said. "It was a great environment, the crowd was awesome...our student section was packed. It was a great thing to be in front of and have those kids in the game...and for us to come out on top was huge for them."
Oxford only managed six points in the opening quarter as Groves played a delay offense style, slowing the pace down and keeping the Wildcats out of rhythm.
Groves led 11-6 after one quarter.
The offense finally got going in the second as the Wildcats put up 16 points in the quarter to take a 22-20 halftime lead.
Oxford fell behind 35-31 in the third quarter, but senior Ben Magdaleno sparked the Wildcats when he hit back-to-back three-pointers to give the Wildcats a 37-35 lead.
"It really got us going there and it was big for us to get back in the game," Marfia said.
Magdaleno finished with a career high 12 points.
After that, the Wildcats took control of the game, outscoring Groves 17-15 in the final quarter. According to Marfia, the Wildcats withstood a late run by Groves thanks to their ball control.
Senior Mark Hazelwood came up big in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 of his 21 points in the quarter. Junior Nate Brubaker scored five points, had six rebounds and three steals.
Despite the win, Marfia felt like his team never got into any offensive flow the entire night.
"It was very difficult the whole game to get a flow on offense. It seemed very herky-jerky. They kept changing their defenses and we were really off rhythm," he said.
However, one bright spot for Marfia was on the defense end, where he saw his team pick up four charges. In the first meeting against Groves, the Wildcats had zero.
According to Marfia, senior Jacques Toussaint led Oxford with two charges.
"That was pretty huge for us, kids willing to sacrifice their body and that is what we have to do," Marfia said. "We may not always be the most talented team on the court, but when we play as a team and do the little things, it makes a difference.
With the win, Oxford improved to 11-4 on the season, and 5-1 in the Oakland Activities Association Gold Division.
Up next for the Wildcats is a game at Hazel Park on Friday, Feb. 17 before entertaining Lapeer East at home on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.