E.A. Sports Today

Oxford clamps down

Lady Jackets throw a blanket over the Pell City player who had hurt them all season; Kidd’s late three-point play proves the difference

First-year Oxford coach Melissa Bennett told her team to throw a blanket over Pell City’s Mary Luker. The Lady Jackets held the sophomore to eight points in their three-point win. (File photo by Dave Brandsma)

By East Alabama Sports Today

SOUTHSIDE — Oxford coach Melissa Bennett loves it when a plan comes together.

The Lady Jackets’ game plan Monday was to stop the one player who has hurt them the most this season, and they couldn’t have executed it any better.

Pell City sophomore Mary Luker had shredded them for 56 points in their two regular-season area games, but a trio of Lady Jackets held her to only eight points Monday night and Oxford went on to win 39-36 in the Class 6A Area 13 tournament.

With the win, the Lady Jackets (6-19) earn a spot in the sub-regional tournament (opposite Brewer or Fort Payne) in Bennett’s first season at the helm. But first they play top-seeded and eighth-ranked host Southside for the area championship Thursday at 6 p.m.

“I’m proud of our team for fighting to win in a big game,” Lady Jackets’ junior guard Anna Bolton said. “We showed a lot of heart tonight; it’s a big team win for us. We can hopefully use this momentum and make a good run in the next week.”

Tremeria Britt, freshman Akeria Robinson and Amaia Whitfield took turns bottling up Luker. They held the Lady Panthers’ scorer to two points in the first half and only three field goals all game.

“We had what we thought was a pretty good game plan,” Bennett said. “We had not played well against Pell City, they had kind of held us in check big-time, so we just wanted to go in and kind of do what we were capable of.

“Our entire game plan was to stop Mary Luker. She had really hurt us. We’d try to overcompensate for her and her other teammates got open. I would have loved to have held her scoreless, but it’s hard to do that on a good scorer; she’s a special kid.”

Another factor was the way Oxford got on the boards. The Yellow Jackets outrebounded their opponent 29-20 and 14 of those caroms came on the offensive glass. Senior post Acacia Kidd “really, really stepped up” and grabbed eight offensive rebounds.

“I had been challenging her all season long to be more physical and she stepped up huge for us tonight,” Bennett said.

The game was tight throughout. It was tied at 36 when Kidd hit a three-point play with 20 seconds left to put Oxford ahead for good. Still, the Lady Jackets to hold their breath while Pell City put up two “gut-wrenching” shots before the final horn sounded.

Tremeria Britt was the only player in the game to score in double figures (10).

“When it comes time for the area tournament it doesn’t matter what you’re record is,” Bennett said. “It doesn’t matter what you’ve done previously, it’s all on that one game. We told them we had nothing to lose because we were 0-4 in the area and all the pressure was going to be on Pell City to preform.

“So we went in and the girls were really relaxed. They knew what we wanted to do. They bought into our defensive strategy. Obviously they were fired up.”

Class 6A Area 13
Oxford 39, Pell City 36
OXFORD (6-19) –
Anna Bolton 1 0-0 2, Makayla Kidd 2 2-3 6, Halaya Harmon 0 0-0 0, Ashleigh Jackson 0 0-0 0, Acacia Kidd 4 1-1 9, Tremeria Britt 4 1-4 10, Akeria Robinson 2 0-0 4, Amaia Whitfield 0 0-0 0, Justyce Smith 4 0-4 8, Kaylyn Hendrix 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 4-18 39.

PELL CITY – Tori Winslett 3 1-3 7, Morgan Roberts 1 0-0 2, Maggie Bowling 2 0-0 4, Maikaylia Posey 3 0-0 6, Mary Denman Luker 3 2-2 8, Victoria Bruce 3 1-4 7, Akeera King 1 0-0 2. Totals 16 4-9 36.

Oxford 6 8 9 16 — 39
Pell City 10 6 11 9 — 36

3-point goals: Oxford 1 (T. Britt). Fouled out: Poser. Total fouls: Oxford 14, Pell City 19.

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