BOYS BASKETBALL: Oxford pulls away from Rochester

| March 10, 2015 | Comments (0)




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CLARKSTON — As statistics go, most upsets in high school state tournaments take place during the district level.

Oxford made sure it was not such a victim during the opening round of the Class A boys basketball state tournament Monday.

The Wildcats, after a slow start, pulled away from upstart Rochester in a pre-district outing at Clarkston by posting a 58-37 triumph.

Oxford’s reward? Earning a Wednesday date with fourth-ranked and unbeaten Clarkston in the district semifinals.

“We’ve said it before. To be the best, you have to beat the best,” said Oxford coach Stephen Henning. “We’re looking forward to the chance of playing Clarkston on their home floor. We’re hoping they are looking past us.”

The Wildcats (12-9) did not look past Rochester. Oxford led only 21-14 at the half against the Falcons (0-21), but came out and made four of its first five shots of the third quarter as part of a 10-0 run. By the time the spurt ended, Oxford was in complete control at 31-14.

The Wildcats led 41-23 by the end of the third quarter and Rochester could never claw to under 15 points the rest of the way.

“Rochester knew the best way to beat us would be to make it ugly. They are not a high-scoring team, but they play pesky defense. They took us out of our sorts, (out of) our rhythm in the first half,” offered Henning. “In the second half, we came out and made a lot of shots early in the third and created (some breathing room).”

Senior guard Mason Vires led Oxford with a game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Jordan Jadan added 12 points and senior Connor Elzerman scored 11 for Oxford,en which led just 6-2 at the end of first quarter.

“Defensively, in the first half, we were really active and they missed a lot of shots,” offered Rochester coach John Pleasant. “We were real conscientious of Mason (Vires) and Connor (Elzerman). We tried to be aware of they were at all times and make them put the ball on the floor. We didn’t think we could man them with too much success. We could not contain them in the second half.

“It seemed like right from the start of the second half, like right from their first three or four possessions, they made shots,” Pleasant said of Oxford. “For our team, 12 points is like 25. They work hard and they grind, but it is just the fact of the matter.”

Oxford held Rochester’s leading scorer this season, freshman Hunter Schattler, to just two points. Sophomore Ivan Barraza scored 10 and senior Michael Halsey added even points for the Falcons.

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