E.A. Sports Today

Rivalry renewed

Oxford routs Ohatchee, sets up a rare meeting with Anniston on any athletic field

Oxford’s Markise Davis (1) follows through on a shot near the basket. On the cover, Jakolbe McClendon (3) brings the ball up the floor. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — It has taken the Calhoun County Tournament to do what administrators aren’t willing or able to do — and that’s bring Anniston and Oxford together in an athletics contest.

Second-seeded Oxford rolled over Ohatchee in its quarterfinal game of the tournament 68-33 Thursday night, setting up a semifinal matchup between the two former longtime rivals.

They play Friday at 8:30 p.m., with the winning earning a spot in the championship game.

The teams have avoided scheduling each other since a shooting incident outside the stadium of a 2006 football game at Oxford. The incident had nothing to do with the game or involve game or school personnel, but it raised security concerns and Anniston hasn’t budged when it comes to playing again.

The teams have played in basketball three times since — the 2008 second round, won by Anniston; the 2009 County finals, won by Anniston; and the 2012 County finals, won by Oxford.

“I think it means a lot to the county,” Oxford coach Joel VanMeter said. “I think it means a lot to the people of Oxford. I think it means a lot to the people of Anniston. Its a great game against two schools that have a tradition of playing each other, and a long tradition.”

Oxford athletics director Larry Davidson coached in the series. He agreed the matchup is great for the County Tournament atmosphere. For their part, the Yellow Jackets players say they will approach the game just like any others.

“That’s what makes the county tournament special,” Davidson said. “The Oxford-Anniston basketball game has always been great, it’s always been a great atmosphere, both teams have always played hard. Everybody wants to see it. What can make it more special than one time a year if you get it in the county tournament? Tomorrow night in the semifinals; it should be great.”

Anniston coach Torry Brown played in the series before it discontinued.

“I’m excited,” he said. “It should be a fun game because it’s an old rival and it’s always good to play a cross-town rival. I don’t know about (playing) down the road, but it should be fun.”

The Yellow Jackets settled the issue with Ohatchee early. They led 39-14 at halftime.

Kendrick Foster had 12 points for the Jackets. Jakolbe McClendon and Markise Davis had 11 each.

Oxford freshman Zondrick Garrett throws down a successful dunk attempt against Ohatchee. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Oxford 68, Ohatchee 33
Ben Glass 2 1-2 6, Carson Stone 1 0-1 2, Grayson Alward 0 1-2 1, Domonique Thomas 1 0-0 3, Brennan Wink 0 0-0 0, Austin Tucker 5 2-3 15, Jordan Lowe 0 0-0 0, Bayley Tillison 1 0-0 2 , C.J. Ray 2 0-0 4. Totals 12 4-8 33.

OXFORD – Markise Davis 5 0-2 11, Simeon Shadrix 2 0-0 6, Jakolbe McClendon 5 0-0 11, Caden Higgins 1 0-0 2 Kendrick Foster 5 0-0 12, Eugene Leonard 3 0-0 7, Zondrick Garrett 3 1-2 8, Braden Mack 2 0-0 4, Ty Davis 3 1-2 7. Totals 29 2-6 68.

Ohatchee 4 10 9 10 — 33
Oxford 19 20 16 13 — 68

3-point goals: Oxford 8 (M. Davis, Shadrix 2, McClendon, Foster 2, Leonard, Garrett); Ohatchee 5 (Glass, Thomas, Tucker 3). Technical fouls: M. Davis. Total fouls: Ohatchee 8, Oxford 14.

Oxford’s Simeon Shadrix (2) moves in to close the trap on Ohatchee’s Austin Tucker. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

To see more B.J. Franklin photos from this game, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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