After the best regular season in school history, the Oxford boys basketball team wasn't about to let itself go one-and-done in the postseason.
The Wildcats got a scare from Romeo in the first half of their Division 1 district opener at Lake Orion High School on Tuesday, leading by just two points at the break. However, an offensive outburst in the third quarter led the Wildcats to a 70-59 victory.
"This district is a beast," Oxford coach Steve Laidlaw said of the Lake Orion district, which includes all three OAA champions. "This is not going to be easy and we told the kids this wasn't going to be easy. We just have to keep getting better and better, and we will. Survive and advance."
With the score at 25-23 at halftime, Oxford (20-1) got hot from the arc in the third quarter. The Wildcats had five 3-pointers as a team in the period, with the first two coming from senior guard Logan Coughlin.
Oxford would score the first 13 points of the second half and eventually push its lead to 20 points in the third as the Wildcats scored 25 points in the frame.
"I told the kids that I thought the third quarter was maybe the best stretch we had all year," Laidlaw said.
Romeo (9-12) was unable to overcome the big deficit, as the Bulldogs were trying to play a slower pace and keep the Wildcats from racking up the points quickly. It was successful in the first half, but couldn't stop Oxford in the second half.
"We wanted to play a slower game," Romeo coach Marvin Cushingberry said. "We wanted to slow things down and go side-to-side and use some of our size. It just didn't work out and we had to scramble. It was going alright until halftime."
Coughlin would be the big catalyst on the night, as he hit a career-high seven 3-pointers in the game while the team finished with 11.
Oxford's Logan Coughlin (1) lays in a basket for two of his 24 points in Monday's Division 1 district opener with Romeo at Lake Orion High School. Coughlin hit seven 3-pointers to lead the Wildcats to a 70-59 victory. (DREW ELLIS - MediaNews Group)
"We always have the green light. All of us shoot the ball so well and we practice it all the time," Coughlin said of Oxford's 3-point shooting. "We are given the green light to shoot whenever we want. It's not just me, it's everyone."
Coughlin had 24 points in the win while Michael Raisch scored 18 and Trey Townsend finished with 11.
"I knew I was feeling pretty good after I hit my first couple, so I was just trying to knock down as many as I could after that," Coughlin said.
Blake McRae led Romeo with 26 points while Ryan Heimbuch had 13.
The Wildcats advance to Wednesday's district semifinal at Lake Orion. Oxford will face Waterford Kettering, a team it defeated 52-47 back on Dec. 11
"Waterford Kettering is dangerous. Waterford Kettering is very dangerous," Laidlaw said. "We played them very early in the year and they are very talented. Our total focus is on Waterford Kettering right now."
(Photo Cred. -TZR Sports)