Defeat Prouty 74-61 for second win
By Steev Riccardo
OXFORD – The Oxford Pirates opened their season by putting their new offense on display in style, running and gunning past the Southbridge Pioneers 71-57 in front of the feisty home crowd in a Southern Worcester County league match-up.
The Pirates came out playing tenacious defense and bombing away as senior co-captains Donny Freeland and Tyler Barrie and Liam Pickett all hit early three-pointers, propelling the home team to a 26-8 first quarter lead.
Both team exchanged baskets throughout the second quarter, which was fine for the Pirates as they maintained an 18-point, 41-23 lead at the half.
Freeland and fellow senior co-captain and point guard Mike James continued their backcourt dominance and the Pirates cruised in the second half and had their first win of the season in the bag.
Freeland, who played his typical lockdown defense, led all scorers with 17 points, while Pickett added 14 and Barrie had 11 for the winners. James played a great game at the point with 8 points and 6 assists.
Freshmen Jared Buckley had an excellent debut performance for the Pirates, scoring 12 points and pulling down 15 rebounds.
“We knew we wanted to press the issue,” said Head Coach Sean Halloran. “We wanted to set the tempo and build a big lead and it carried us through. This is the way we are going to play this year, it’s up tempo, it’s continuously running and shooting and crashing the boards.”
“I thought Mike James ran the show very well. We had great distribution on assists, James with 6 assists, Freeland had 3 assists, Pickett with 5 assists and Barrie also had 5 assists. We really know how to distribute the ball, everyone is unselfish, I am really proud of them and their effort tonight.”
Halloran also praised the play of his freshman center. “I thought Jared Buckley had an outstanding game for a freshman, first game ever at the varsity level with a double double. I have never seen a freshman have a game like that.”
Pirates Topple Prouty: On Friday (December 14) the Pirates improved to 2-0 with a 74-61 win over David Prouty.
Once again the Pirates had an excellent, balanced scoring attack. Pickett led the way with 16, James had 15, Barrie had 14 points, and Freeland also was in double figures with 13 points.
“We knew they (Prouty) would be improved over last season, evidenced by their 20-point win over Grafton, so we needed to set the tone early, which we did by scoring 22 points in the first quarter, but we gave up 19, so we spoke at quarter break about realizing that we know we are going to score, but we can't neglect defense,” said Halloran.
“To the boys' credit, they dug in and held David Prouty to 4 points in the second quarter. We opened up a 13-point lead in the 3rd quarter and then we lost focus and within a minute and a half we were only up 37-35. I called a timeout and reiterated what we talked about at the 1st quarter break. From that point on we out scored them 39-26.”
“Donny Freeland had an outstanding game, really stepping up his defense when challenged and taking control of the offense when we needed some key hoops.”
The 2-0 Pirates are scheduled to play Northbridge Tuesday night, December 18, and meet Bartlett in what could be a marquee match up of two SWCL powers on Friday night in Oxford.
The Pirates shut down the Indians last year 48-38 mainly due to Freeland’s defensive job of Nick Kobel, who was held to 1 point in the only game all season that he didn’t score double figures.
For more on Oxford Pirates 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.