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BLOG: Oxford girls cruise into 5A state tournament

Oxford’s girls basketball team didn’t have much trouble clinching its spot in next week’s MHSAA Class 5A state tournament.

The Chargers leaned on their inside game early and applied their usual full-court pressure to pull away from Vicksburg for a 50-29 win in a second-round playoff tilt Friday at the Oxford High gym.

Oxford (25-4) will take a 17-game winning streak into the tournament, where the Chargers will face Hattiesburg next Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Jackson State University. It is Oxford’s first trip back to state since winning it all in 2012.

Oxford senior center Kyla Malone led all scorers with 14 points. Aliyah Herod added 11 points while Tiara King and Emma Shultz chipped in nine apiece. Pleasure King and Karry Callahan each scored eight points for Vicksburg (13-17).

It was the Chargers’ first game in a week after earning a first-round bye as the No. 1 seed out of Region 2-5A, yet rarely did Oxford look rusty. Oxford attacked the interior of Vicksburg’s zone defense by feeding the 6-foot Malone, who had 10 of her points in the first half.

Malone and Herod, who scored all of her points in the first half, carried the Chargers early with nobody else getting shots to consistently drop. Vicksburg cut a double-double deficit in the second quarter to four until Oxford’s defense took over.

Oxford pressured the Gators into turnover after turnover and pushed the lead to 34-18 at the half. The Chargers scored just five points in the third quarter but continued to suffocate Vicksburg to keep their distance, limiting the Gators to just 11 points over the final two quarters.

See Sunday’s edition of the EAGLE for complete coverage of Friday’s game.