E.A. Sports Today

Coming out of their shell

McClendon dazzles as Yellow Jackets cruise to 78-65 win over North Jackson

Oxford's Querriun Mason (3) drives past a North Jackson defender for two of his 17 points Saturday. On the cover, Jakolbie McClendon brings the ball up the floor. Below, Braden Jones goes in for two. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

Oxford’s Querriun Mason (3) drives past a North Jackson defender for two of his 17 points Saturday. On the cover, Jakolbie McClendon brings the ball up the floor. Below, Braden Jones goes in for two. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

By Jason Katz
For East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Jakolbie McClendon was the best player for Oxford over the summer. Well, not much has changed.

The junior was lights out Saturday, pouring in 28 points and grabbing six rebounds in 27 minutes as the Yellow Jackets handled North Jackson 78-65 in the TV24 Holiday Showcase at Pete Mathews Coliseum.

“I owe it all to my team,” McClendon said. “They make me the player I am and allow me to be the best player I can be. I take it step-by-step everyday and focus on the game ahead. That’s all you can do.”

McClendon got a lot of help from his teammates as Braden Jones and Querriun Mason both went for 17 points and nine rebounds. This allowed Oxford to pull away in the second half after the Jackets trailed at halftime 38-37.

“I believe this team can get to regionals and beyond,” McClendon said. “We are a disciplined group of guys. Once we execute consistently like we did tonight, the sky is the limit.”

“Right now, executing is our biggest task,” Oxford coach Joel VanMeter said. “Tonight, we did just that.”

An array of shots from all over the court allowed McClendon to seize the MVP award for the game. He was 13 of 17 from the floor and had three assists. McClendon, Mason and Jones were a combined 27 of 41 shooting with eight of the Jackets’ 17 assists.

It was all just a little too much for North Jackson to handle. In the second half, Oxford shot 61 percent from the floor, while the Chiefs were only 28.6 percent.

“We are a good team, and I see it at practice,” VanMeter said. “McClendon and Jones are young guys coming out of their shell, and everyday I see us get better and better.”

Oxford 78, North Jackson 65

OXFORD (5-6) – Torrey Robertson 2-5 0-0 4, Jalen Moore 1-4 0-0 2, Querriun Mason 7-12 3-3 17, Jakolbie McClendon 13-17 1-4 28, Jacob Baker 0-1 0-0 0, Eugene Leonard 2-3 0-0 4, Andrew Pratt 0-0 0-0 0, Jordan Swain 0-2 0-0 0, Chris Jarmin 0-0 0-0 0, Braden Jones 7-12 3-5 17, Zach Lackey 3-7 0-0 6. Totals 35-63 7-12 78.

NORTH JACKSON – Trey Harris 4-15 2-4 10, Bray Eldridge 3-9 1-1 9, Keshawn Lowrance 3-5 5-7 11, Colton Patton 0-1 0-0 0, Chase Darnell 2-2 0-0 4, Matt Loyd 0-0 0-0 0, Matt Johnson 5-8 1-1 11, Will Kirk 2-8 1-2 5, Dylan Davis 5-12 3-4 15. Totals 24-60 13-19 65.

Oxford 20 17 19 22 — 78
North Jackson 18 20 11 16 — 65

3-point goals: Oxford 1-10 (Robertson0-2, Moore 0-2, McClendon 1-3, Baker 0-1, Leonard 0-1, Swain 0-1); North Jackson 4-19 (Harris 0-7, Eldridge 2-6, Patton 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Davis 2-4). Rebounds: Oxford 40 (Jones 9, Mason 9); North Jackson 35 (Kirk 10). Total fouls: Oxford 16, North Jackson 13.

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