(2-5-22) Berkley beat Oxford last night in a 59-48 emotional boys basketball game.

A statewide initiative, “Stand Up For Oxford Strong” was designated for February 4th, by Michigan High Schools to support the Wildcats after the fatal shooting that took place at Oxford High School on November 30th.

Because of the shooting, the deaths of four students and several injured, Oxford had not played a single game in its own gym until last night.

After the game Oxford coach Steve Laidlaw. told MLive.com

“Oh, it’s fantastic to be home. Great crowd, totally supportive of us, cheering us on. It’s part of the healing process, right? You need to see kids happy, need to see kids playing hard, playing with passion and doing something they love. This was absolutely awesome.”

Berkley coach Joe Sermo was wearing an Oxford Strong shirt the entire game told MLive.com after the game

“Steve (Laidlaw) is a good friend of mine… I know he’s the perfect guy to be with these kids and nurture them back. I know this community has been hurting and we’ve been hurting with them. But it meant a lot for my program to come here and be able to honor them and for them to be able to take back their gym tonight. It was a special, special moment and I give them all the credit. I couldn’t even imagine what they’re going through, but God bless them. We’re here for them all the time.”

According to early reports the initiative has raised about $225,000 for the Oxford Community Memorial & Victims Fund.

Before last night’s game Oxford athletic director Tony DeMare told MLive.com –

“Oh, it’s so heartwarming. Just a wonderful gesture on a lot of fronts. Athletics is powerful. There’s such a tight fraternity among our schools across the state, and the impact is substantial. We’re seeing that play out through this initiative and the message is very clear. The movement is called Stand Up For Oxford Strong, and I think what we’re seeing is the entire state of Michigan is displaying strength. It’s very impressive and people are showing up in a big way.”

Schools all over Michigan wore Oxford Strong t-shirts before the game during warm-ups –