• 66°

Chargers swept on final day of 2-6A tournament

By Jared Redding

BATESVILLE — In a 32 minute game, eight minutes made the difference for Oxford.

The Oxford Chargers fell once again to the Columbus Falcons by the final score of 56-26 in the Region 2-6A tournament final Friday at South Panola High School. Regardless, the Chargers are guaranteed to begin postseason play in the comfortable confines of their home gym.

Similar to the previous regular season meeting, it was a huge challenge for the Chargers to overcome the size and length of the Falcons. It once again got the best of Oxford. The evidence: having almost as many turnovers as total shots.

“It’s a confirmation that the turnovers came from their length,” Oxford coach Drew Tyler said. “They capitalized, they scored off our turnovers definitely. It felt like every shot we had was contested. So Columbus’ length really bothered us.”

It was a physical chest match to begin the game. The Chargers started off the game getting wide open looks from Tucker Scott and J.J. Pegues and led after the first quarter. They later found themselves trailing only 18-10 going in at halftime.

“We did such a good job of executing our game plan in the first half,” Tyler said. “We tried to stay in range to have a chance to win.”

Then the game turned upside down for the Chargers. Columbus turned up pressure and began the half on a 12-0 run, forcing turnovers left and right. The Falcons went on to outscore Oxford 38-15 in the second half.

“They came out in a three quarter court 1-2-2 and it gave us a lot of problems in the second half. They just really had us pinned against the sidelines and we threw long passes,” Tyler said.

Scott led the Chargers with seven points followed by Pegues with six.

Oxford will host Madison Central in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Lady Chargers end season

 A tough 2017-2018 campaign came to a cold end.

An overwhelming second quarter made the difference as the Lady Chargers fell to the South Panola Lady Tigers 66-45. With the loss, Oxford finishes the season at 4-24 and failed to reach the postseason for the first time in over a decade in their season as a member of a tough 6A classification.

“You never want your season to end and we know every year that it is going to be a disappointing time when your season is over,” Oxford coach Cliff Ormon said. “There is probably going to be only one team celebrating at the end of the year, and that is the state champion. We didn’t accomplish all of our goals that we had set, but I think you always learn something in sports. When you win or lose, you always learn how to fight through adversity. I’m proud of the effort we put in this season,”

The Lady Tigers led for the majority of the first quarter and found a lot of success on the boards early. Then, they began to turn the ball over.

Oxford reclaimed the lead early in the second quarter, but it was short-lived. The Lady Tigers turned up the heat and used their full court press to suffocate the Lady Chargers and end the first half with a monster 28-3 run. During that run, South Panola’s Marshala Doyle and Kaniya Ford capitalized numerous times off of Oxford turnovers. The Lady Chargers never recovered and the deficit was around 20 for the remainder of the game.

“We executed our game plan early. Then they went with the press and got us out of our rhythm and we turned the ball over and over again and we didn’t respond to that pressure. That is one of the things that we have got to grow up and decide to do as a team and I have to do a better job coaching them in those situations,” Ormon said.

In her final game as a Lady Charger, Calicia Zinn put up 19 points to lead the team. Bri Ducksworth finished with seven points and Ashley Epps scored six.