The Oxford boys saw their dream of a state championship vanish at the hands of the Philadelphia champions from Communications Tech. Tech tagged the Hornets with just their third loss of the season, and their first loss since December, a 69-53 loss in the state quarterfinals.
"I think they certainly have the best talent in the state," said Oxford Coach Sean Harvey of Communications Tech. "Their point guard is one of the quickest kids I have ever seen. If their outside shots are not falling they can be beaten, but I would consider them a favorite to win it all."
Oxford had their own difficulties in the game, with some uncharacteristic misses, along with troubles from the foul line, but Tech forced Oxford into playing their game.
"I certainly think it may have been a different game had we made foul shots and made lay-ups, but they played a big part in forcing their style of basketball upon us," said Harvey. "We got caught up in playing up-tempo, which hurt us in the end. When the game slowed down I think it was an even match, but we did not have an answer for their point guard."
The loss to Tech may have ended the Hornets season, but shouldn't detract from just how good a year this team had.
Oxford's 28 wins this season tied the school best put up by last year's squad. The Hornets successfully defended their SCCL and District 1 titles, and made it to the final eight in the state, finishing the regular season ranked number one in the state by the Patriot News.
"My personal goal every year is to reach the state playoffs," said Harvey. "For this team to have won 28 games and tie the school record for wins in a season set by last years team is incredible. This group really believed they were supposed to win every game they played in.
"There is an attitude that has been established over the past four years that Oxford is supposed to win every game they play. The previous groups have passed that confidence down to the younger groups, and these kids simply kept the ball rolling. A lot of credit should go to the seniors for leading this team to 28 wins."
For those seniors, this year capped off a remarkable four-year stretch for Oxford basketball that included four straight division championships, three consecutive league championships, back-to-back District 1 championships, and berths in the state tourney all four years.
All five of the Hornets seniors posted solid seasons in their final campaigns.
Tommy Lacy was second in rebounds with 219, second in blocked shots with 14, and third in scoring 284 points.
"Tommy had an outstanding senior season," said Harvey. "He really became a vocal leader during our state playoff run, and Dutch (Anthony Duchnosky) really picked up his level of play during the district and state playoffs."
Duchnosky finished his senior campaign with 196 points, and 98 rebounds. Collin Herb filled his role effectively, notching 14 points and 19 rebounds in limited action.
Anthony Thomas (204 points, 37 steals, and 66 boards) anchored the team's defense.
"Anthony Thomas could always be counted on to take away the other team's best player," said Harvey. "He is probably the best defensive player I have ever coached which says a lot as I have coached some good defensive kids in the past."
Johnny McMillan was a team leader in every aspect, leading the team with 245 rebounds, to go along with 384 points, second only to junior Julius Gray.
"Johnny McMillan was simply a joy to coach," said Harvey. "He came to practice every day and worked hard. He never complained about anything and always was willing to accept criticism."
At the start of this season, few in the area gave this team much of a chance to carry on the success achieved by Oxford basketball in recent years, but by season's end; Oxford made believers out of everyone.
"I really think this group reached its fullest potential," said Harvey. "They can be extremely proud of themselves for their achievements. To end the regular season as the No.1 team in the state according to the Patriot News rankings is something that no one thought could be accomplished by this team. They represented Oxford very well on the basketball court, and I am proud to have coached these young men."