Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
OXFORD – The Oxford Pirates took an early 9-0 lead and led all the way and went on to defeat the Leicester Wolverines 75-55 in a Southern Worcester League battle between the two rivals on Friday night, Jan. 4, at Oxford high school.
The Orange and Black used their aggressive defense and rattled the Wolverines early, which led to some turnovers and easy baskets and helped them open a 21-9 lead after one quarter.
The hometown onslaught continued in the second quarter as the Pirates connected on four 3- pointers, including a pair by senior co-captain Donny Freeland, to open a commanding 41-23 half-time lead.
Junior Liam Pickett, who played great offense all night long, scored eight third quarter points and the Pirates took a 56-31 lead into the final quarter, which was enough padding to hold on for the win.
Pickett led all scorers with 26 points, while teammate senior co-captain Mike James, who played a solid way game at guard, had 14 points. Defensive stopper Donny Freeland added nine 9 points and a big defensive effort to the equation.
“We wanted to pressure the ball in the backcourt and create some turnovers which we did, opening a 9-0 lead, which was huge and it gave us the confidence that we could really run with these guys and tire them out because they are a big strong team,” said Pirates head coach Sean Halloran.
It’s no secret that the Pirates’ game plan is to use their quickness to win games and Halloran reiterated that. “A lot of teams we play are bigger and stronger and we have to beat them with quickness and speed and trapping, so that was our goal and we did that tonight.”
“Overall I thought Donny Freeland had a really strong game all around defensively and I thought Mike (James) controlled the point extremely well.”
The Coach is also quite pleased with the continued development of Pickett, who has become a force offensively. “Our goal is to release him and he is quick and long and gets down the court and finished really well and in the half court set he can stick the 3-point shot too, so he is like a dual threat for us.”
Pirates Knock off Douglas 66-49
Earlier in the week the Pirates had four players scoring in double figures and knocked off Douglas 66-49 on the road.
Freeland had four 3-pointers, scoring 17 points overall, while Pickett had 19, James scored 11,and senior Tyler Barrie added 10 points in the victory.
“We set the tempo early like we wanted to,” said Halloran. “We started off the game a little slow but then we geared it up a little bit. In the second quarter we were getting good looks but we just could not make a shot. Everyone was still upbeat at the half because we were doing the things that we wanted to do, we just couldn’t make our shots.”
“We came out red hot in the third quarter and built a 14-point lead and then we put them away in the fourth quarter. I thought the key to the game was our transition offense.”
Halloran also praised the play of point guard James, who he said set the tone both offensively (dishing out nine assists) and defensively with five steals. He also said that the play of reserve Dennis Sneade was key for his team. “He really boxed on well and played good interior defense.”
The 5-2 Pirates have two key contests on the road this week, traveling to Fiskdale to meet Tantasqua Wednesday, Jan. 9, and playing a very tough Uxbridge team on Friday night.
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- Wednesday, 09 January 2013