Oxford Girl's Basketball Preps For First State Final Four Appearance in 20 Years
The Oxford girl's basketball team continues its search for the program, and the school's, first-ever team state championship this weekend.
21-5, Ranked third in the state, Section IV Champs, beating rival for the first time in over a decade, the stars seem to be aligning for the Oxford girl's basketball team. But now the Blackhawks have their biggest task to date.
"Whole teams a little bit on edge." said junior center Leah Oliver. "Everything seems to be happening all at once, but we're all really excited to be here and have this chance to go this far. Twenty years so."
Two decades since they made the state's final four.
"And I think it's really cool for our school because we haven't really been able to have this opportunity before," said junior guard Jocie Finch. "So yeah, we're really excited."
Both the team and school are searching for their first-ever team state title.
"It would mean the world because we haven't done it in like forever," said senior guard Naiomi Smith. "And like I don't even think we have. So it means everything and especially because we had so much support all the way through. So it means a lot."
That support helped power the team to a 26-point win in the Regional Championship.
"Winning this is not just for our team or our school, it's for our community and the support of the whole entire community has been much appreciated," said senior guard Madalyn Barrows. "We have a spectator bus going to every game and even to states which is two hours away so it's really appreciated."
The Oxford faithful hope to make the trip twice this weekend with the potential championship matchup on Sunday.
"They're ready," said head coach Chris Palmer. "We've got to kind of keep going over any loose ends and preparing as we have all season long but we're excited. We're ready. We're ready to go compete."
Partly what's prepped them has been the tough schedule that's gotten them here which includes the Section IV win against CVS
"We've also been practicing how to work against like the bigger girls," Smith said. "Because we're such a short team."
Nothing Oxford isn't used to.
"We can handle size, we can use our quickness, we can use our speed," Palmer said. "We can help each other to at the very least neutralize some of these bigger teams."
The same mantra the team's been using all year--just play your game.
"It's just any other game," Barrows said. "We can't stress too much like it's such a big opportunity, a big moment. We just have to say it's just another game. It's just basketball. We play how we have been playing all year long and I think we'll be fine."
And if it isn't obvious already, a State Championship for the school, the team, and the town...
"It would mean everything," Finch said. "I mean we've never done it before. So if we could do that would be incredible."
The Black Hawks tip off at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College against Section II's Notre Dame Bishop Gibbons.