E.A. Sports Today

Load up the Oxford Van (Meter)

Yellow Jackets headed to Northeast Regional after pounding Albertville in Class 6A sub-region

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — At the beginning of the season, Oxford basketball coach Joel Van Meter looked around after a game and noticed ”we have a lot of puzzle pieces to play with.”

Well, those pieces have come together quite nicely for the red-hot Yellow Jackets as they continued their march through the state playoffs with a 74-52 romp over Albertville in the Class 6A sub-regionals Tuesday night.

With the victory, the Yellow Jackets (22-10) gave Van Meter his first trip to the Northeast Regionals, where they will play Pinson Valley (21-10) Friday at 1:30 p.m.

”We played pretty well,” Van Meter said. “Albertville is well-coached and tonight just showed us what we are capable of. We have such a potent line-up with so many guys that can make a difference out there.

“When you have two absolute studs — one is a point guard and the other is a big guy in the middle — you can do so many things as a team. The players we have around these guys are special, too. It really has not sunk in that we are going to the regionals.”

Albertville was playing at a high level as it buried eight 3-pointers in the game, but the Aggies (16-15) were no match for an Oxford team that was coming at them from all different directions.

There was sophomore Simeon Shadrix drilling four clutch 3-pointers that ended Albertville runs at key points in the game. Junior Markise Davis was slashing to the basket and pulling up for 3-pointers; he scored 13 points to go with seven rebounds.

Freshman center Zondrick Garrett set the tone early as he batted away four Aggie shots and was able to control the lane for 12 rebounds, seven points and a thunderous dunk off of a lob pass.

Sophomore Eugene Leonard took control of the game midway through the first quarter and he ended his night with 19 points on a dazzling array of drives to the basket for easy lay-ups.

“It all starts with our defense,” said Leonard. ”My teammates got me the ball in great positions to score tonight. We are just taking it one game at a time right now, trying to play the best we can. We want to win a state championship.”

Oxford 74, Albertville 52
Win Jones 3 0-0 8, Brodi Canterbury 3 2-2 10, Dillon Harding 6 0-2 14, Erick Martinez 2 0-0 5, Austin White 1 5-6 7, Trinity Bell 2 1-4 5, Dane Harding 1 0-0 3. Totals 18 8-14 52.

OXFORD (22-10) – Markise Davis 6 0-0 13, Jakolbe McClendon 2 0-0 4, Simeon Shadrix 4 0-0 12, Eugene Leonard 8 3-4 19, Zondrick Garrett 3 1-2 7, Braden Mack 3 2-3 8, Ty Davis 3 0-0 6, R. Taylor 2 0-0 5.

Albertville 11 13 8 20 — 52
Oxford 17 16 22 19 — 74

3-point goals: Albertville 8 (Jones 2, Canterbury 2, Di. Hardin 2, Martinez, Da. Harding); Oxford 6 (M. Davis, Shadrix 4, Taylor). Rebounds: Albertville 22 (Bell 8); Oxford 32 (Garrett 12).

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