E.A. Sports Today

Oxford’s Kelley above boards

Lady Jackets’ senior post adds scoring element to her usual strong rebounding game

Oxford's Ebony Kelley (23) battles with Wellborn's Madison Files for a rebound during the Calhoun County Tournament. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

Oxford’s Ebony Kelley (23) battles with Wellborn’s Madison Files for a rebound during the Calhoun County Tournament. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Ebony Kelley understands her main job on the Oxford girls basketball team is to clear the boards, and she did it quite well in her latest start.

But she added another element to the role Monday night – scoring.

The senior post scored 21 points and grabbed 19 rebounds – both season highs – as the Lady Yellow Jackets dumped Jacksonville 54-44 on a night the Golden Eagles honored their seniors.

Her previous season bests were 14 points against Talladega and 16 rebounds against Cedar Bluff. She came with the energy of both games against the Golden Eagles.

“Usually my main job is to rebound … and Jacksonville was very weak on the boards so I tried to take advantage of it,” Kelley said. “That’s not usual for me to score as much, except for on put-backs, but on offense I tried my best today. I had a lot of energy today.

“I couldn’t tell you (what prompted it). My mindset was to rebound. I haven’t been making a lot of shots lately, so my main focus was to try to finish today.”

The Lady Jackets outrebounded Jacksonville 42-30. A dozen of Kelley’s caroms came on the offensive glass.

She kept Oxford in a close game early with seven points in the first quarter. She had 12 in the fourth quarter as the Lady Jackets (13-11) held off every charge Jacksonville (13-10) threw at them.

“I thought we shut the guards down pretty good, but their posts just took over in the fourth quarter,” Jacksonville coach Tres Buzan said.

Truth be told, Kelley was just following through on a promise she made during a team meeting right after the Lady Jackets lost a listless area game to Pell City – on the heels of losing in the County Tournament championship game.

“She takes a lot of pride in rebounding and that is a big role she plays for us,” Oxford coach Tonya Peoples said. “She told us the other day in front of the whole team she doesn’t think about scoring and she needs to do that more to help the team. By golly, I guess she did it.”

The Lady Jackets haven’t lost since that meeting.

“That is them choosing to respond,” People said.

Oxford 54, Jacksonville 44

OXFORD (13-11) – Ebony Kelley 9-18 3-9 21, Tremeria Britt 4-10 5-6 15, Winter Taylor 2-9 3-5 7, Jordan Smith 2-5 0-2 4, Makayla Lowery 2-3 0-0 4, Makayla Kidd 1-3 0-0 3, Alex Gomez 0-1 0-1 0, Acacia Kidd 0-2 0-0 0, Anna Bolton 0-2 0-0 0, Ashleigh Goodwin 0-0 0-0 0, Grace Mitchell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-53 11-23 54.

JACKSONVILLE (13-10) – Kyra Williams 7-13 1-4 16, Aniya Jefferson 4-4 0-0 8, Dasia Kirksey 3-10 1-2 8, Aniyah Robinson 3-6 0-0 6, Ataliya Morgan 1-6 2-6 4, Kelsey Ervin 1-4 0-0 2, Essence Hutchinson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 19-45 4-12 44.

Oxford 12 10 13 19 — 54
Jacksonville 15 6 9 14 — 44

3-point goals: Oxford 3-8 (Britt 2-4, Lowery 0-1, Kidd 1-3); Jacksonville 2-12 (Williams 1-2, Kirksey 1-6, Morgan 0-2, Hutchinson 0-2). Rebounds: Oxford 42 (Kelley 19, Taylor 7, Smith 7). Jacksonville 30 (Jefferson 8, Williams 6, Kirksey 6, Robinson 6). Total fouls: Oxford 8, Jacksonville 15. Officials: Hollingsworth, Hinkle, Howell.

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