CALN - Much was expected of the Great Valley High School boys basketball team coming into the season. And with good reason. With Villanova University-bound Mikal Bridges leading the way and a good supporting cast that got better as the season went on the Patriots looked like the team everyone said they would be.
It all came together Tuesday night inside Ross Kershey Gymnasium at Coatesville High as the Patriots as they dominated Oxford to claim the coveted Ches-Mont League title with a convincing 53-36 triumph.
Great Valley (22-2) beat its American Division foe for the third time this season. Ricky McQuay and Bridges led the way for the Patriots as Bridges had a game-high 18 points, while McQuay chipped in with 17, including four 3-pointers. He also limiting Oxford's high-scoring Jordan Logan to only five points. McQuay hit two long 3-balls in the first half to help Great Valley jump out to a comfortable 24-15 halftime lead."It feels great to win the Ches-Mont and especially with these teammates,' McQuay said. "We worked hard all season and came together. It has been a lot of fun with these guys. Tonight, coach (Jim) Nolan told us to come out with energy and establish our game and we did that.'
Great Valley controlled the tempo of play and received contributions from every player on the floor. Along with McQuay's two 3-pointers in the first half, Cyree Ames added one before the half ended and finished with seven points overall. Bridges grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with his 18 points.Though Great Valley started fast to open the third period, Oxford (18-6) hung tough. A Bridges jumper in the lane made it 26-15 before McQuay scored five straight points on a jumper in the corner and a 3-pointer to build a 31-15 advantage.
Oxford got the lead down to nine points at 35-26 after Dunn scored on a runout and had a chance to get to seven after Ryan Hubley rebounded a missed jumper. But a bad pass led to a turnover, one of 18 on the night for the Hornets.Great Valley took advantage as McQuay hit another three for a 38-29 advantage. After an Oxford miss, Blake McGlond scored down low and the championship was in reach. Great Valley pressured and harrassed the Hornets into just 10 made field goals for the game.
"Every time we got the lead down to six or seven we turned the ball over,' Oxford coach Sean Harvey said. "We just played well offensively, but we turned the ball over too much and you cannot do that against a team like Great Valley.'
After missing just three of the 11 shots attempted from the floor, the Patriots took a 43-28 bulge into the final period. Oxford got the lead to 11 early in the fourth after Musty Mahmud's basket, but Oxford could not put together a run as they suffered through a 10-for-31 (32 percent) shooting night.The signature moment of the night came with a little over four minutes to play as McGlond rebounded a miss, hit McQuay up the floor, who passed to Bridges in stride. The senior threw down a monster slam to send the fans into a frenzy and seal the championship for Great Valley.
"This feels great to be a part of this championship with these guys,' McGlond said. "This is the first step for us and it was great to get this tonight.'
Nolan, the longtime Great Valley coach and one of the best in District 1, took some time after celebration to look back on the regular season."I think our schedule really helped us this year,' he said. "We played Harrisburg, Penn Wood, Archbishop Wood and West Chester Rustin twice. We went down and played very well at Oxford and hat's off to Sean Harvey and his team. They had a great year. This team got better as the year went on and came together. And my assistant coaches work so hard, they deserve this. This is a true family.'
Great Valley 53, Oxford 36
OXFORD: Dunn 4 0-3 10, logan 1 2-2 5, Mahmud 3 4-6 10, Clarke 1 1-2 3, Hubley 1 3-3 5, Rochester 1 0-0 3, Herb 0 0-0 0, Sivels 0 0-0 0, Quigley 0 0-0 0, Mosley 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 10-16 36.
GREAT VALLEY: Bridges 7 4-5 18, McQuay 5 3-3 17, McGlond 2 0-0 4, Cohen 1 0-0 2, Ames 3 0-0 7, Buchholz 2 1-2 5, Alston 0 0-0 0, Miller 0 0-0 0, Kuhn 0 0-0 0, Drill 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 7-10 53.Oxford 7 8 13 16-36
Great Valley 16 8 18 11 -56
3-point goals: McQuay 4, Ames, Dunn 2, Logan.