E.A. Sports Today

Tough way to start

Oxford drops its season opener to Gadsden City by 3; Yellow Jackets stung by too many turnovers, offensive rebounds

By East Alabama Sports Today

GADSDEN (Nov. 14) – Oxford basketball coach Joel Van Meter looked at the final score and the numbers that went with it, but instead of being discouraged he actually was encouraged by what it means for the future.

The Yellow Jackets dropped their season opener to 7A Gadsden City 62-59 Monday in a game they committed 36 turnovers and gave up 18 offensive rebounds.

“We turned it over 36 times and I bet we had 18 travels,” Van Meter said. “We traveled, we stepped out of bounds.

“We looked like a team that doesn’t have a whole lot of seasoning to it. Their pressure didn’t hurt us, but it did speed us up. I’ve said this team is a work in progress.”

This is how the night went for the Jackets. They led by four at halftime and were getting the ball to start the third quarter. After both teams were warned about dunking in warm-ups, one of Oxford’s players got T’d for touching the rim during the second-half warmups, so the Titans got a couple free throws and the ball.

Then the Jackets were up 51-49 in the fourth quarter and three different times they turned it over with a possession that would’ve pushed the lead to four. In the closing seconds, they scored to cut the deficit to two and foul to get the ball back. The Titans missed the free throw on purpose, but as the ball was going out of bounds Oxford guard Eugene Leonard saved it, and had to twist to put a tying shot in motion.

“I’m not mad, not discouraged, I’m encouraged,” Van Meter said. “My best team beat them 17, then we go over there and lose by 25. The point is this is the closest that we’ve ever been over there with a chance to win it.”

Ty Davis, who played on the JV squad last year, led the Yellow Jackets with 15 points.

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