Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
OXFORD – The Oxford Pirates outscored the Millbury Woolies 51-20 and had 12 steals in the first half en route to a huge 78-46 victory Friday (February 1) night, which earned them their tenth win of the season and a district playoff birth.
The Pirates stormed out of the locker room and played a flawless first quarter dominating the Woolies and outscoring them 29-8. Senior co-captains Mike James and Donnie Freeland led the early attack with eight points apiece.
Senior co-captain Tyler Barrie joined the hit parade in the second quarter, burying a pair of deep 3-pointers and helping his team build its enormous 31-point half-time lead.
The Woolies made a little run in the third quarter but Freeland hit a couple of big hoops and it was pretty much all over as Pirates coach Sean Halloran emptied the bench for the fourth quarter.
“I couldn’t ask for a better half,” said Halloran on his team’s first half effort. “We were running and jumping like we practiced, we were making our layups, we were hitting our three’s. We were able to trap and force a lot of turnovers. When we did have an offensive set we took our time and we set good screens and attacked the offensive glass.”
James, who finished with 18 points, one point behind team leader Freeland, who had 19, said, “Everyone was involved, it wasn’t just one player, our run and jump offense is finally there and we are playing more as a team now. I think we are better defensively than offensively so now that our offense is getting better we are doing good.”
The win was the fourth straight for the Pirates who were coming off a thrilling 70-65 overtime win over Auburn, and once again a win over a bigger team.
“The other team is usually bigger than us,” said Halloran, “so we have to find the advantage and our advantage is quickness and our athleticism and experience, so I think I can do that with the amount of seniors I have and Liam (Pickett) is an experienced junior.”
“It’s a perfect time for us to be peaking. I am really proud of the way the game came out tonight, our team knew what was at stake,” said Halloran.
“We want better seeding this year (in the playoffs). Every year we seem to get stagnant at the end of the year so the seeding is important to us,” said James.
The Oxford junior varsity took care of business as well with a 58-43 win led by Dan Cassie, who had 17 points.
For more on local high school basketball, please check out View From The Sidelines every week in the Patriot and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ViewFromTheSidelines or contact
with your feedback and comments.