Boys' basketball: Oxford Hills breathes easy against Leavitt

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TURNER — Four of Oxford Hills’ first six victories so far this season have been by single digits, so being able to work with some breathing room for most of Saturday night’s KVAC game against a young Leavitt team was a welcome change.

Good ball movement and their trademark strong defense allowed the Vikings to build a double-digit lead in the second quarter, which is where the margin stayed for the rest of their 61-42 victory.

Spencer Strong led Oxford Hills (7-6) with 20 points and four steals, while Chris St. Pierre added 14 points, six rebounds and three steals. Colton Carson contributed a strong all-around game with 13 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks.

Freshman Wyatt Hathaway led Leavitt (5-9) with 16 points, while sophomore Cole Morin chipped in with 14 points and eight rebounds.

Leading 17-11 after one quarter, the Vikings started the second with the first nine points, sparked by back-to-back layups off of steals by Janek Luksza and Strong. Leavitt didn’t score until Hathaway made two free throws that made it 26-13 with 4:02 left.

“We played how we should have played,” Oxford Hills coach Scott Graffam said. “They threw a lot of different stuff at us. They’re a young team and they showed that they were young. We shot the ball fairly well. Colton played well and we defended, as usual, very, very well.”

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Using full-court pressure and mostly a 2-3 zone in the half-court, Oxford Hills limited the Hornets to 1-for-11 shooting and six points while forcing nine turnovers in the period to take a 32-17 lead into halftime. Strong had nine points in the quarter.

“They’re a pretty decent defensive team. For us to score 42 on them, I wasn’t completely displeased with that,” said Leavitt coach Mike Hathaway, who starts two freshmen, a sophomore and two juniors and played just one senior. “They’re bigger than us. They’re older than us. I thought we defended well at times and I thought we rebounded pretty well, as outsized as we were.

Leavitt limited the Vikings to 4-for-16 shooting in the third quarter, but still couldn’t find its shooting form (3-for-16).  The Vikings were able to inflate their cushion to 20, which is where it hovered for the rest of the game.

“I was happy with our guards,” Graffam said. “They defended fairly well and they were able to change defenses for us. They distributed the ball and shot well enough for us to win.”

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