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Oxford basketball splits region games with West Point

By Cody Thomason

The Oxford High boys basketball team improved to 2-0 in their region and 14-5 on the season with an 88-67 point victory over West Point on Tuesday at the OHS gym. The Chargers are also 12-0 in games played in Mississippi.

Oxford took a quick 8-0 lead with an athletic alley-oop dunk by senior Jarkel Joiner energizing the crowd early on. The Chargers took a 20-point lead at halftime and didn’t let the Green Wave shorten the gap as the game went on, something head coach Drew Tyler said has been a problem for the Chargers this season.

“In all our five losses, we’ve had leads where we’ve let people chip away at it and really get too close by the end of the game, so I’m proud that we got to the free-throw line and made shots,” Tyler said.

Tyler also commended his team on outrebounding West Point and consistently winning loose ball battles.

Coming into the game, Joiner was leading the nation in scoring with 37.4 points per game. Joiner added 36 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals on Tuesday, including a fadeaway, buzzer-beating 3-point shot to end the third quarter. Joiner was uncharacteristically shaky from beyond the arc but had several high-flying dunks and was a menace to the West Point defense on the fastbreak.

Senior Terry Williams was able to add 23 points of his own and five assists, and fellow senior Hiram Wadlington pulled down seven rebounds and dished out 11 assists.

“(Joiner) really had an off night shooting from the perimeter, made up for it by slashing and getting to the goal and getting to the free-throw line,” Tyler said. “I thought he did a pretty good job finding Terry open on the perimeter.”

Girls’ rally falls short

The Lady Chargers lost 62-49 against West Point, dropping them to 6-12 on the season and 1-1 in their region.

“It was a tough loss. I thought our performance was again up and down, but as far as effort, couldn’t ask for a team to play any harder,” head coach Cliff Ormon said.

Oxford initially struggled on offense and went into the half down 24-13. In the third quarter, the Chargers came alive and went on a 22-11 run. Junior Jordan Freeze hit back-to-back 3s to tie up the game, and at the end of the quarter, the Chargers had fought back to take a 35-30 lead.

“It was huge. We were able to get a couple of steals and we knocked down some shots early in the third quarter,” Ormon said. “It was just a huge difference in the second half as far as our rebounds as well, we only turned it over three times in the third quarter. That gave us a chance.”

The game remained close until there was less than two minutes left in the game and West Point began to break away despite Oxford’s attempts to foul and slow the clock.

Freeze finished with 16 points, three assists and a steal while junior Calicia Zinn had 13 points and five steals. Junior Christina Owens had 10 points and six assists.

The Oxford girls take on Independence at Independence High School on Wednesday at 6 p.m. The Oxford boys will battle Independence at 7:30 p.m.