‘39’ and no longer holding

BINGHAMTON – This one was Oxford, its town, its fans, and players in the recent and not-so-recent past. A idle championship notation on a single banner adorning the wall of the high school gymnasium will now have a partner.

The Blackhawks, 39 years removed from the school’s lone Section IV championship, atoned for last year’s heart-breaking championship loss, beating Odessa-Montour Saturday, 50-43 in the Class C title contest Saturday night at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.

The Blackhawks (21-3) have now won 18 games in a row, all but one of those victories since the flip of 2008 to 2009. They play Section III’s champion on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. at Cortland State for the right to advance to the New York State semifinals in Glens Falls.

“I think this win is for the whole town,” said Oxford fifth-year head coach Tim Davis. In Davis’ tenure, the Blackhawks have made four MAC championship games, but didn’t win until this year. It also reached the sectional semifinals two years ago before seeing a premature end to the season. “We have had great support from the community all the way back. I played here, Jim (Champlin, assistant coach) played here. “We’ve had a strong program the last five years, and the whole town has come together.”

The Blackhawks’ season-long staple – strong defense – was up to the task of containing the Indians. Giving up just 43 points will win teams a lot of games. Nearly four minutes into the fourth quarter, it didn’t look like Oxford would make it to 40, much less the half-century it totaled by game’s end. Nearly 7 _ minutes passed between points for the Blackhawks, and in the meantime, O-M (16-7), underdogs by anyone’s measure, turned a two-point deficit early in the third quarter into a 36-32 lead. John Blaha hit a free throw with 5:35 left in the game for the first points of the stanza, and Brandon Letteer was fouled on and inside move setting up two more free throws with 4:57 remaining in the game.

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