Oxford unable to hold off Academy Park

East Nottingham — After a very back and forth first quarter of play, No. 17 seed Academy Park’s offense exploded helping them blow past No. 16 Oxford, 79-57, on the road in the first round of the District 1 Class AAAA boys basketball playoffs Friday.

The Knights (17-6) will now move on and play top-seeded Conestoga in the second round Tuesday. It is also their first first district playoff victory since 2000.

The Hornets (15-9) were able to use some hot shooting in the first quarter to pull out to an early 16-13 lead. Tyler Farr drained two 3-pointers and the home team started to control the pace of the game.

“We tried to simulate in practice five on eight, five on nine to prepare for their athleticism,’ Oxford’s coach Sean Harvey said. “We knew what they were coming into it. Our goal was to control tempo.’

In the second quarter, Academy Park showed that simulations could only take a team so far when it came to preparing for their high-pressure pace. With Oxford leading 19-13 in the early going of the second quarter, the Knights 1-2-2 full-court press started to suffocate the Hornets offense, and turnovers and second-chance opportunities flipped the momentum quickly.

“We thought we could jump on them in a zone press because we weren’t scoring enough,’ Knights’ coach Allen Brydges said. ” We were able to take control of the tempo and it was over after.’ Knights’ forward Travis Smith finished the first half off with an exclamation point. With time expiring, the senior drove down the lane and finished a left-handed layup at the buzzer. It capped off a 28-17 run for the visitors and gave them a 41-33 advantage at halftime. They would never trail in the second half.

Academy Park continued their domination in the third quarter. Two minutes into the period junior-guard Jawan Collins buried a deep 3-pointer, not only was it his 13th point on the evening, but it was his 1,000th in his high school career.

“I am just so happy we won,’ Collins said. “That is all that matters to me. My teammates helped me so much. I give all the credit to them.

Collins scored nine of his 23 points in the third quarter helping his team pull away.

“We hit open shots, and our bench hit open shots too,’ Collins added. “We just told everyone to play hard and pick up the pace.’

Davis also had a stellar offensive night. He finished with 17 points, which included two 3-pointers, and was 5 of 6 from the free-throw line.

“We spread the floor. When we spread the floor we caused turnovers and we let Jawan do his thing tonight,’ Smith said.

To win their first playoff game in 15 years, they feel like they have loads of momentum heading into their matchup against Conestoga.

“We have played at Penn Wood, at Chester, at Glen Mills. We have gone on the road before against some tough teams. We will be ready,’ Brydges said.

It was a tough night for the home team, it was their second straight defeat by over 20 points. However, senior Ryan Hubley had a strong game for the Hornets, finishing with 22 points.

“I just wanted to go all out,’ Hubley said. “I tried to use my strength to my ability. Academy Park is a really athletic team. I just tried my best to help my team. These guys are like my family.’

No one was prouder of the senior than his coach.

“I don’t know if I can describe how it was coaching Ryan Hubley, other than fortunate,’ Harvey said. “I am fortunate and lucky to have a kid like Ryan Hubley, and his parents, and his family. Things they do for this school district go unseen and unnoticed by some, but not from me. I really really have been lucky.’

Note: The Hornets finish with a 15-9 record, second in the Ches-Mont League American Division, and are projected to return three started for 2015-2016.

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