E.A. Sports Today

Jackets stand their ground

Moore does nice defensive job on Horton while Oxford plays with the passion that was missing from its last game

Oxford defensive specialist Jalen Moore (gold 2) was always keenly aware of where Jacksonville's Cam Horton (4) was on the floor Monday night.

Oxford defensive specialist Jalen Moore (gold 2) was always keenly aware of where Jacksonville’s Cam Horton (4) was on the floor Monday night.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE – There were so many good things that happened to the Oxford basketball team Monday night it was hard for coach Joel Van Meter to single out just one.

After thinking about it a little bit, he settled on defense and having fun as the biggest elements of their success.

The Yellow Jackets dumped Jacksonville 76-57 displaying the passion Van Meter didn’t see in Saturday’s loss at Cherokee County.

“We usually draw up on the board: (1) defend, (2) rebound – and we’ve got some goals within that – (3) value the basketball and (4) is about confidence or playing with aggressiveness,” Van Meter said. “Tonight, the three things we wrote were this: Energy, passion and have fun. And I thought we met all three of them as well as we have all year because, I’m going to be honest with you, that team right there is scary.

“They can punch you with the 3 and defensively they get you so spread because you’re trying to help on Cam (Horton) they surround the 3 with some guys who are good shots and it makes it kind of tough. I was extremely pleased defensively, no question.”

It started with the job Jalen Moore did on Horton. The Jackets’ defensive specialist, with help from Jordan Swain, held Horton to 15 points – eight in the first half and none in the third quarter while the Jackets were pulling away. The seven points Horton scored in the fourth quarter came after Oxford had built an 18-point lead, and three of those came from the free throw line.

Horton was just 6 of 14 from the floor and 0-for-5 from 3-point range in the final home game of his high school career.

For Moore it was just more of the same. He held Cherokee County scorer Joel Wester to one field goal and six points on Saturday and held Chelsea’s Aaron Washington to 12 and 6 in their two meetings; the 12 came after Washington had gone for 30 the game before.

“He’s a tremendous player and I just tried to stand my guard and keep him in front of me,” Moore said. “I think he’s the best player out of all the ones I’ve had to guard. All I do is just defend and do what the coach tells me to do and hopefully contribute on the offense end.”

The Jackets (17-10) built their lead after Jacksonville’s 6-foot-7 post Casey Trull went to the bench with his third foul early in the third quarter.

Trull scored the Golden Eagles’ first three buckets of the second half to give them a 36-35 lead with 5:39 left in the quarter. But he picked up his third foul shortly thereafter and when he came out of the game the Jackets to advantage of the free path to the goal and went on a 25-6 run that put them in total control.

Braden Jones did a lot of the damage in the run; he scored 10 of his 23 points in the third quarter. Ja’Kolbe McClendon provided most of the scoring in the other three quarters; he finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds.

“I think we all did good as a team,” McClendon said. “We wanted to pound the ball inside and get easy layups, points around the rim. There were no big men in there so it would be easier to score around the rim. We wanted to bounce back from a loss. It was real fun.”

Oxford 76, Jacksonville 57

OXFORD (17-10) – Jakolbe McClendon 12-22 3-6 29, Braden Jones 8-17 7-11 23, Eugene Leonard 4-7 2-2 10, Jalen Moore 4-11 0-1 8, Jordan Swain 2-4 0-0 4, Zach Lackey 1-1 0-0 2, Torry Robertson 1-4 0-0 2, Jacob Baker 0-1 0-0 0, Chris Jarmon 0-0 0-0 0, Andrew Pratt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-67 12-20 76.

JACKSONVILLE (6-14) – Cam Horton 6-14 3-3 15, Casey Trull 5-7 0-0 10, Ackles 4-8 0-0 10, Bragg 3-4 0-0 9, Tahj Kirkland 2-3 0-0 5, Hill 1-7 0-0 2, Alex Gilbert 1-4 0-0 2, Terry Thomas 1-1 0-0 2, Jay Davis 1-1 0-0 2, Will Fuller 0-0 0-0 0, Collin Casey 0-0 0-0 0, Blake Morris 0-0 0-0 0, K.J. Satcher 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-49 3-5 57.

Oxford 20 12 22 22 — 76
Jacksonville 12 18 12 15 — 57

3-point goals: Oxford 0-9 (Robertson 0-1, McClendon 0-2, Jones 0-2, Moore 0-3, Baker 0-1); Jacksonville 6-20 (Horton 0-5, Ackles 2-6, Bragg 3-3, Kirkland 1-2, Hill 0-2, Gilbert 0-2). Rebounds: Oxford 35 (Jones 7, McClendon 6); Jacksonville 33 (Fuller 7, Hill 6). Fouled out: Ackles. Total fouls: Oxford 8, Jacksonville 18. Officials: Howell, Hollingsworth, Wright.

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