New Oxford overcomes slow start against Hershey
New Oxford senior Trevor Floyd discusses the team's 61-29 win over Bermudian on Tuesday. Floyd is back on the court after missing a few weeks with an injury. Matt Allibone
The first quarter of Wednesday night's game couldn't have started much worse for New Oxford.
Taking on Hershey at home in their holiday tournament title game, the Colonials missed their first nine 3-point attempts, gave up a couple of easy baskets in the paint and trailed by 12 after five minutes. But despite the deficit, the Colonials remained calm.
They knew they would eventually heat up.
Down by nine at the end of the first, New Oxford opened the second quarter on a 16-2 run that broke the game open. The Colonials would eventually cruise to 67-48 win to claim the tournament title.
"I thought this was our best effort on the year," New Oxford coach Sean Bair said. "I think that has a lot to do with this score. I wouldn't have anticipated winning by that much because (Hershey) is a very good team."
What changed for the Colonials after the first few minutes? Shooting was certainly one thing. New Oxford (5-3) recovered from it's early slump to make 11 shots from behind the arc and got double-digit points from four players.
But the Colonials' ability to outrebound the Trojans and limit their post players was also key. The Trojans brought two 6-foot-7 players (Nick Hines, Ross Good) off the bench to compliment 6-foot-4 star forward Drew Painter, but New Oxford still seemed to come up with a majority of the game's rebounds.
"Playing good defense, rebounding leads to better shots and easier shots on the offensive end," said 6-foot-5 junior John Wessel, who led New Oxford with 13 points. "When me or (senior forward) Ben (Lehman) drops to stop the driver, the other guy has to be there and tonight for the most part he was there. That's how we stopped them."
Lehman added 10 points while guards Trevor Floyd and Jordin Brown both tallied 11. New Oxford led by nine at halftime and opened up the third on a 12-4 run that helped them go into the fourth up by 26.
The Colonials got points from 10 different players and 3-pointers from seven of them. On the other side, Hershey was paced offensively by Painter, who finished with 14.
"We probably got better shots in that first quarter than we got every other quarter, we just couldn't make them," Bair said. "I was really pleased with our guys that they trusted what we do, what we work on and each other. They kept taking the right shots and eventually a couple went in."
Floyd, who scored 20 points the previous night against Bermudian Springs, was named tournament MVP. The senior guard missed two weeks with an injury but has been a key contributor since returning last Friday.
"He gets guys in the right spot, can play multiple positions," Bair said. "He's great because when we have bench players in he can play any spot on any play. The big thing is just leadership and experience. It's hard to match his intensity and focus."