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Oxford boys basketball edges Canton, reaches Jackson again

The season continues for Oxford’s boys basketball team, and it came down to their best player to make sure of it. Jarkel Joiner hit two free throws with 14 seconds left and Canton was unable to score on the other end as Jalen Lester’s 3-point attempt missed as time expired. The 63-62 win was a repeat of a season ago when Oxford hosted the Tigers in the second round of the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs and defeated them 73-69.

It is the third straight year Oxford (24-7) has reached Jackson as they will face Wayne County, which defeated Gautier on Saturday night, in the quarterfinal round. The game will take place at Jackson State University on Friday at 1:30 p.m. It will also be the third straight year Oxford and the War Eagles have met in the postseason with Wayne County having ousted the Chargers in the previous two meetings.

Joiner led all scorers with 34 points to go with his eight rebounds and two assists. Terry Williams scored 16 points while Cameron Bailey scored seven and Drew Bianco chipped in four points.

Oxford trailed the entire first half as Canton (19-10) edged the Chargers by a combine three points in both quarters for a 26-23 lead at the break. It was a flip of the script in the second half as Oxford outscored the Tigers 40-36 with Joiner scoring the bulk of his points in the third quarter, hitting three consecutive 3-pointers at one point. The Chargers held a 61-60 lead with 50 seconds left until Canton’s Jay Fleming connected on a layup to give the Tigers a one-point lead. It stayed that way until Joiner was fouled by Canton’s Jamal Porter and hit the game-winning free throws.

Jermaal Rogers led Canton with 26 points while Damerius Wash scored 19 and Javian Fleming added nine points.