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Oxford boys basketball falls in 2-5A title game, earns No. 2 seed for 5A playoffs

COLUMBUS – Oxford High boy’s basketball team had a diffulcult task ahead of them, beating the New Hope Trojans for the third time this season. The game came down to the last few minutes, New Hope pulling away at the end to secure a 58-52 win over the Chargers inside the New Hope High gym on Friday night.

Throughout the game, guard Jarkel Joiner found ways to get up plenty of shots, scoring 24 points and leading the game in scoring.

The loss gave Oxford the No. 2 seed in next week’s Class 5A state playoffs, where they will host Ridgeland in the first round at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Charger Head Coach Drew Tyler believed missed shots around the rim were a problem, especially facing a tall New Hope lineup. “We were missing free throws and chip shots. New Hope had a lot to do with that. Their length was able to alter shots, but we do have to have some stops on the defensive end.”

“We struggled offensively. New Hope pounded it down low, something I thought they would have used earlier in the year, and used their size at the right time to get us in some foul trouble.”

New Hope big man Andrew Junkin was able to throw off plenty of shots, amassing seven blocks in the contest, while Trojans guard-forward duo of Terryonte Thomas and JaQuante Bell scored 22 and 20 points, respectively.

Drew Bianco was able to grab seven rebounds in the game, adding 12 points, and two big threes that helped keep Oxford close early in the second half. Unfortunately, Bianco and Joiner’s effort was not enough, giving up 34 points in the second half. Coach Tyler was obviously upset with the loss, but believes the this can be used as a positive tool to help motivate the team to win.

“We got a big lead down to one and that shows a seasoned team. We hope this loss will fuel us to 2-0 next week. We were trying to beat New Hope for the third time this year. Tough to beat someone three times in a year. Little hardware at stake with a trophy, with a loss, it’s just a different road to Jackson. I’ve don’t it a lot of different ways in 20 years.”

Oxford has played most of their games on the road, but with a home game Tuesday, Coach Tyler wants to build momentum with this loss. “We do understand with a loss tonight, we get one home game, and then an away game after that. we’ve only had 8 games at home. our entire season has been on the road, that’s the way we look at it.”