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Oxford splits with Tupelo, boys stay undefeated at home

The week was a monumental one for Oxford to say the least.

The Chargers were coming off their first loss inside the state of Mississippi to Columbus on Jan. 19 as well as the loss of one of their top players for the foreseeable future.

Oxford handled that adversity with a pair of home wins over Region 2-6A foes South Panola in overtime on Tuesday and followed it up with a 56-52 win over Tupelo on Friday.

The wins preserved the Chargers (16-3, 3-1 2-6A) undefeated streak inside their own gym, improving it to 9-0.

It also gave Oxford the season sweep over Tupelo — they defeated the Golden Wave 59-56 at Tupelo on Jan. 5 — which will be nice to have in their back pocket when seeding for the region tournament comes into play next month.

“It continues our winning streak at home, protecting our turf,” Oxford coach Drew Tyler said. “I feel like if we continue to do that we’ll set ourselves up in a good spot come region tournament and hopefully have a home playoff game.”

J.J. Pegues scored a career-high 27 points to lead Oxford past the Golden Wave. Kylan Blackman scored 10 points, Tucker Scott added seven points and  Cade McKellar chipped in six.

The loss of Drew Bianco due to what is being described as a ligament injury in his wrist has made Tyler change the make up of his team. Through three games without the production of 17 points and nine rebounds a night, Oxford has manged to come out OK.

The play of Pegues on Friday is something Tyler is going need from his sophomore if the Chargers want to see Jackson.

“The intensity (Bianco) brought to the court and the never quit, never back down attitude that he had. That’s what we’d feed off of,” Tyler said. “We had that tonight. Pegues stepped out on the perimeter. Making twos, making threes and making it hard for our opponent to find scorers for us. With Drew out of the lineup we’ve had trouble scoring.”

Tupelo (15-7, 1-3) was led by Fabla Perry’s 10 points and was the only player in double figures for the Golden Wave. Keandre Hampton scored nine points, Jaylen Humphrey and Anthony Nichols each added six points.

Lady Chargers still searching

It was another tough night on the court for the Oxford girls team and they are still in search of their first region win. The Lady Chargers fell to Tupelo, 65-36.

Oxford dropped to 0-4 in 2-6A and 3-18 overall.

After falling behind by 11 points in the first quarter, the Chargers rallied in the second quarter to get to within 10 points at the start of the third.

That would be as close as Oxford would get, Tupelo outscored the Chargers 35-16 the final two quarters.

“Nobody is prepared for a season like this,” Oxford coach Cliff Ormon said. “Everyday you want to come in and work to get better. You let yourself down, your team down when you don’t do that. We kind of left that as a challenge. I do see glimpses of things we could do. It’s just tough for us to string those together. We’re just not consistent.”

State champs honored

On Friday night the first dynasty of Oxford sports was honored.

The 1996, ’97 and ’98 Lady Charger basketball teams were in attendance to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their third straight state championship. They were the first Oxford team to win back-to-back-to-back state titles.

During their three-year stretch of dominance Oxford went 103-8.

“This is a very, very special place,” former Oxford coach Jeff Nelson said during halftime of the boy’s game.

Nelson coached Oxford for 18 years and finished with a coaching record of 502-111.