E.A. Sports Today

Oxford falls in OT

Yellow Jackets lose 5-point lead in final minute of potential area title clincher; McClendon scores 32

By East Alabama Sports Today

CHELSEA — The Oxford Yellow Jackets were so close to a Class 6A Area 10 championship last night they could taste it.

They rallied from nine down in the second half to take a five-point lead with a minute left, but were taken into overtime, where Chelsea made eight free throws to score a 68-60 win.

The Yellow Jackets missed a jumper with seven seconds left to win it and survived a desperation shot from the Hornets to send the game into overtime.

“I’m extremely proud of the fight our players had tonight,” Oxford coach Joel Van Meter said. “I thought we had a group of players who responded to a challenge and played like men. Our toughness allowed us to answer every run they made and we just came up a little short.”

A win would have clinched the area championship outright for the Jackets (7-15), but now they and Chelsea have identical 2-1 records with having games against Pell City remaining. Wins by both teams will force a coin flip to determine the area host.

The loss spoiled a career night for Jakolbie McClendon, who scored 32 points. He jump-started the Yellow Jackets after they fell behind 17-10 after one quarter. He scored all 11 of Oxford’s second-quarter points and scored 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Oxford was shorthanded down the stretch. Querrian Mason, the team’s leading scorer, was benched after scoring four first-quarter points and remained in coach Joel Van Meter’s doghouse the remainder of the game and senior guard Kaleb Kidd fouled out with two minutes to go.

Kidd scored 10 points, all in a 20-8 run that put the Yellow Jackets up three early in the fourth quarter.

“It was just a hard-fought game where each team’s emotions where high with the area championship on the line,” Van Meter said.

The Yellow Jackets (7-15) expanded that lead to seven points at 53-46 with 2:40 to go in the game on a 3-pointer by McClendon. Chelsea scored 16 of its last 20 points of the game from the free-throw line.

Chelsea center Darrell Foster was unstoppable down low with Mason out and scored 23 points to lead the Hornets.

Chelsea 68, Oxford 60 (OT)

OXFORD (7-15) — Kaleb Kidd 4 1-1 10, Jalen Moore 3 0-0 7, Querrian Mason 2 0-0 4, Jakolbie McClendon 14 2-2 32, Jacob Baker 1 0-0 3, Torry Robertson 0 0-0 0, Daunte Lauderdale 0 0-0 0, Blaize Brimer 1 0-0 2, Zachary Lackey 1 0-0 2. Totals 26 3-3 60.

CHELSEA (12-9) — Josh Pugh 1 2-2 4, Aaron Washington 2 5-6 10, Joseph Lanzi 2 1-2 5, Michael Towery 2 2-2 7, David Simpson 3 2-2 10, Matthew Marquette 1 4-6 6, Jeremy Wilson 1 0-0 3, Darrell Foster 9 5-8 23. Totals 21 21-28 68.

Oxford 10 11 16 21 2 — 60
Chelsea 17 11 9 21 10 — 68

3-point goals: Oxford 5 (Kidd, Moore, Baker, McClendon 2); Chelsea 5 (Washington, Towery, Simpson 2, Wilson). Total fouls: Oxford 17, Chelsea 9. Fouled out: Kidd

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