E.A. Sports Today

Oxford drops 2

Grind catches up to Yellow Jackets as 5-game win streak ends; Lady Jackets drop close game

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – The legs just were not there for the Oxford Yellow Jackets Saturday as they dropped a 60-52 decision to Homewood in their final regular-season game of the season.

The ninth-ranked Jackets (20-10) won a 99-90 game some 18 hours earlier and it showed in the third quarter as Homewood went on a 17-4 run in the quarter to take a 48-36 lead. It was Oxford’s fifth game in eight days.

The closest the Jackets could get the rest of the way was six points and the Patriots (15-9) hung on for the win. Both teams won their area titles during the regular season and this game was for both a chance to ready themselves for the playoffs.

“This game was kind of an afterthought as we put it on the schedule late in the season,” Homewood coach Tim Shepler said. “It kind of resembled one of those mid-afternoon regional tournament games, so it was a good game to schedule for both teams.”

It was a very physical first half as the Jackets faced a big height disadvantage for one of the few times this year. Homewood’s 6-9 center Trey Jemison and 6-7 Logan Padgett were controlling the inside and forced the Yellow Jackets to take more outside shots than normal.

“Our game plan is always to try and take the lane away from our opponents,” Shepler said. “Too many good things happen when opponents get the ball in the middle, so we use our size to try and shut it down.”

The strategy worked well as the Patriots snapped Oxford’s five-game winning streak.

“I was pleased with the way we played, but we still have some things to clean up and work on before the area tournament,” Shepler said.

Eugene Leonard led Oxford with 11 points. Zondrick Garrett chipped had nine points and seven rebounds. Braden Mack and Jakolbe McClendon had eight points apiece.

The Jackets get a little rest now. They will host of the winner of the Southside-Pell City area tournament opener Thursday.

“I was really proud of our overall effort today,” Jackets coach Joel Van Meter said. “We could never get the tempo of the game to our favor and you have to credit Homewood for that.

“With that being said, I think our team is ready for the post season and will be focused on the mission at hand.”

Lady Jackets drop close one

The Oxford Lady Yellow Jackets wrapped up their regular season Saturday with another tough opponent and fell 47-43 to Vestavia Hills.

The first half was a grind. After a couple of quick baskets by Halaya Harmon, the Lady Jackets could not throw one in the ocean and went stone-cold from the floor.

They did not make a field goal in the second quarter until Acaia Kidd scored with 30 seconds left in the half. Tremeria Britt then banked a 3-pointer in on a desperation heave from just inside half court at the buzzer to cut the Vestavia Hills lead to 21-15 at the half.

The Rebels went on an 11-2 run late in the third quarter to open up a 16-point lead. The Yellow Jackets rallied in the fourth quarter, but were unable to overcome the deficit.

The schedule has made for a tough grind over the last few weeks, but the Lady Jackets have been improving and trying to fit all the pieces into the right place. The results have shown improvement over the second half of the season.

“We have had to fit new players into different roles in this season,” Oxford first-year coach Melissa Bennett said. “They are starting to take ownership and we are learning our strengths.”

The Jackets have three junior guards in Anna Bolton, Britt and Makayla Kidd.

“We are trying to develop some consistency there and we still have our ups and downs on offense, but we are getting better and hopefully trying to peak at the right time,” Bennett continued. “We are also fitting in some of the younger players trying to get them some experience.

“We do not have much height and while I like to press, we have to play to our strengths and pressing is not one of them, so we have had to kind of sit back and protect the basket on defense. We started that against Southside and it has helped us.”

The Lady Jackets will be back in action Monday at Southside in the Class 6A Area 13 tournament against Pell City. The winner gets a spot in the sub-regional tournament and will face Southside Wednesday for the area title, while the loser’s season ends.

Homewood 60, Oxford 52
HOMEWOOD (15-9) –
Larkin Williams 0 0-0 0, Isaiah Rouse 0 0-0 0, Cardamien Daniels 3 2-3 10, Andrew Cleveland 4 0-1 10, Faulkner Williams 0 0-0 0, Jack Goldasich 1 0-0 2, Luke Touliatos 5 2-2 14, Elijah Blanchard 0 0-0 0, Logan Padgett 5 4-4 14, Trey Jemison 5 0-0 10. Totals 23 8-10 60.

OXFORD (20-10) – Jakolbe McClendon 3 1-2 8, Simeon Shadrix 2 0-0 5, Kendrick Foster 3 2-2 8, Eugene Leonard 2 4-7 11, Zondrick Garrett 4 0-0 9, Braden Mack 4 0-1 8, Ty Davis 1 1-2 3, Caden Higgins 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 8-14 52.

Homewood 14 15 19 12 — 60
Oxford 13 13 10 16 — 52

3-point goals: Homewood 6 (Daniels 2, Cleveland 2, Touliatos 2); Oxford 4 (McClendon, Shadrix, Leonard, Garrett).

Vestavia Hills 47, Oxford 43
Courtney Milner 1 2-5 4, Ellington Wesson 0 0-0 0, Madaline Crane 0 2-4 2, Olivia Stames 0 0-0 0, Maggie Mince 1 0-0 2, Taylor Wilson 1 0-0 3, Anna Wood 4 2-3 14, Aysiah Hill 1 0-2 2, Grace Uldrich 4 6-12 14, Sarah Cain 3 0-0 6. Total 15 12-26 47.

OXFORD (5-19) – Anna Bolton 2 5-6 9, Makayla Kidd 1 2-2 4, Halaya Harmon 2 0-0 4, Ashleigh Jackson 3 0-1 6, Tremeria Britt 2 1-2 6, Quameria Britt 0 0-0 0, Amaia Whitfield 0 1-2 1, Justyce Smith 1 1-2 3, Kaylyn Hendrix 2 0-0 4, Akeira Robinson 0 0-0 0, Acacia Kidd 3 0-0 6. Totals 16 10-15 43.

Vestavia Hills 15 6 18 8 — 47
Oxford 8 7 10 18 — 43

3-point goals: Vestavia Hills 5 (Wilson, Wood 4); Oxford 1 (T. Britt).

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