• 79°

Cross-town basketball rivalry set to ignite tonight at Lafayette

The first of two annual meetings between cross-town rivals Oxford and Lafayette will take place tonight from Lafayette High School. The girls varsity game will tip off at 6:00 p.m., followed by the boys varsity scheduled for 7:30 p.m..

On the boys side, Oxford (9-2) is a prohibitive favorite over rival Lafayette (2-8). Now in his 22nd year as the Oxford head coach, Drew Tyler has a younger and more balanced team this year. The team consists of two seniors, Landon Norris and Andre Baskin, and a core of ten juniors, led by Kylan Blackmon and Cade McKellar.

Lafayette is led by senior forward Stephon Isom. Isom is averaging around 16 points and 9 rebounds per game for the Commodores. He’s accounting for nearly 35-percent of the total points for Lafayette. Shutting down Isom will be the Chargers’ first priority.

For the girls, it should be a much more balanced and competitive competition. The Commodores enter the game undefeated (11-0) and the 9th ranked team in the state according to Maxpreps.com. Oxford, at 9-3 is not simply going to be a pushover.

Oxford is led by their backcourt, in senior guard Ashley Epps and junior guard Saniah Campbell. It’s a very experienced team, featuring five seniors and five juniors. Lafayette has not lost all season, and they’ve only played two games out of eleven where they didn’t win by at least ten points.

It’s a balanced scoring effort for the Commodores, led by junior guard Azariah Buford’s 20 points and 8 rebounds per game. The trio of Buford, Kimaya Dixon and Mariah Holland combine for over 45 points per game, over 70-percent of the team’s production.

The past decade of matchups between the two schools have been quite lopsided. For the boys, it has been since 2011 since Oxford lost to Lafayette. Last year’s meeting was close, Oxford winning 49-41. The Lafayette girls have not lost to Oxford since 2012. In the only meeting between the schools last year, Lafayette dominated Oxford, winning 62-30.

Tonight marks just the first of two meetings between the two schools. It is the first time in a handful of years that the two schools have played a home-and-home series. They will play again in about a month, on Jan. 15 from Oxford High School.