Oxford sets up one-game playoff

Girls’ Basketball

Oxford 45, B-G 27

BAINBRIDGE – Oxford clinched a share of the MAC Division II title Friday – along with Harpursville – its first piece of a divisional championship since the 2005 season.

Using tough defense to force 19 B-G turnovers, Oxford picked up its second comfortable win over the Bobcats (12-6) this season. “Our defense was excellent again tonight,” said Oxford second-year coach Chris Palmer. “We did a nice job with our game plan, and everyone was where they were supposed to be.”

Tied at 4-4 through the first three-plus minutes of the game, Oxford went on a 9-0 run to take command of the game early. Alyshia Crawford hit a three-pointer during the spurt on her way to a 15-point night, Kim Shackelton scored inside off a Julie Heggie feed, and Haley Witchella’s traditional three-point play made it a 13-4 game.

B-G hung within 21-14 at halftime, but fell behind by 18 in the third as Oxford scored the quarter’s first eight points, and allowed just one basket in the quarter. Bobcats starting point guard Randi Conway was in foul trouble, and the B-G offense seldom had good looks at the basket.

“Randi is a big key for us, and as she goes, so goes our team,” said B-G coach Bob Conway. “I think she and some of the players on our team were a little intimidated, and it was all downhill in the second half.”

Oxford spread out its third-quarter scoring getting baskets from Allie Nelson, Kelli Whitehill, and Ginny Burdick to compliment leading scorers Crawford and Witchella, who added 13 points and 15 rebounds to the Oxford stat line. “We have depth,” Palmer said. “We have our girls who can score 15 in Haley and Alyshia, and we have a lot of other girls who can score four and six. They may not jump out at you and score a lot of points, but they knock down shots for us.”

Oxford will host Harpursville at 7 p.m. on Tuesday for the right to play in the MAC title game against Greene on Saturday at SUNY Oneonta.

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