E.A. Sports Today

Big Mack attack

Oxford uses a double-double by Mack, big third quarter to pull away from Southside for 6A Area 13 tournament title

Oxford’s Braden Mack (23) battles for a rebound during his double-double against Southside. On the cover, Mack and Kendrick Foster (10) both were named to the all-tournament team. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – It was a festive night in the Oxford Sports Arena Thursday night as the Yellow Jackets erupted in the second half to knock off Southside 61-46 for their third straight Class 6A Area 13 championship.

The Yellow Jackets (17-10) have won five straight over Southside and this was their third over the Panthers this season.

“It is always tough to beat a team three times in one year,” said senior forward Braden Mack, who gave the Jackets a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Oxford now hosts the loser of the Friday night’s Homewood-Parker game Tuesday at 7 p.m., while Southside will travel to the winner for its sub-regional test.

The first half was a battle befitting two teams that know each other very well. Mack scored seven in the first quarter as the Jackets pulled out to a 16-8 lead. Burly center Gavin Orr took the Panthers on his back at that point and scored eight points as Southside cut that lead to 18-17.

Oxford took a 26-25 lead into halftime. It was a tough physical battle with both teams knowing exactly what the other was going to do.

Oxford finally took control in the third quarter as it began to pound the ball inside and draw fouls. The Jackets shot nine free throws and scored the first 10 points of the quarter and then after a Panthers basket went on a 9-1 run to open a 45-28 lead.

“We were looking for offense to lead to our defense in the first half and we got it turned around in the second half to where our defensive play was feeding to our offense,” Oxford head coach Joel Van Meter said. “I thought that Tacorrie Russell and Kobe Warren came in and gave us some very valuable minutes in the second half.”

Mack, meanwhile, just took what the Panthers were giving him.

“They were backing off of me at the free throw line, so I just took my shot,” he said.

Markise Davis and Rock Taylor were also pounding the boards and finished with eight rebounds apiece. Eugene Leonard connected on 11 free throws and had 14 points. Orr and Tristan Riggin led Southside with 15 and 14 points, respectively.

WORTH NOTING: Oxford athletic director Larry Davidson has his name on the basketball court and his wife Connie received special recognition at halftime as the area where she has sat throughout the years was officially named Connie’s Corner. “I did not know what was going on,” she said. “I thought maybe was I going to die or was this going to be my last game or something. But it was so nice.” Said Van Meter: “Larry and Connie are icons around here, especially in the basketball area. They have done so much and are deserving of all of this” …

As first reported by East Alabama Sports Today last week, 6-8 Zondrick Garrett re-enrolled at Oxford last Friday and the Jackets are happy to have him back for his junior year. The 2016 County Tournament MVP spent the first half of the year at a private school in suburban Atlanta. In his last game at the private school he had eight points, six rebounds and four blocked shots. “It is great for him,” Van Meter said of Garrett’s return. “He is back with all his friends and teammates and he is fun to coach.”


Oxford 61, Southside 46
Blake Habyan 0 1-2 1, Chris Lengyl 2 1-1 5, Myles Hendrick 0 0-0 0, Dawson Nunn 1 0-0 2, Tristan Riggin 2 9-11 13, Devin Laster 3 2-2 8, Brock Hayban 1 0-0 2, Seth Tunstill 0 0-0 0, Gavin Orr 7 1-4 15, John Weaver 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 14-20 46.

OXFORD (17-10) – Markise Davis 3 1-1 7, Simeon Shadrix 2 1-2 6, Mont McClendon 1 3-4 6, Taccorie Russell 1 0-0 2, Roc Taylor 1 0-0 2, Kendrick Foster 3 1-2 7, Eugene Leonard 1 11-16 14, Kobe Warren 1 1-2 3, Braden Mack 6 0-0 14. Totals 19 18-27 61.

Southside 12 13 6 15 — 46
Oxford 16 10 21 14 — 61

3-point goals: Oxford 5 (Shadrix, McClendon, Leonard, Mack 2). Rebounds: Southside 19 (Orr 6, C. Lengyl 5); Oxford 44 (Mack 10, Taylor 9, Davis 8). Fouled out: Mack, McClendon. All-tournament team: Brandon Calhoun, Pell City; Eugene Leonard, Oxford; Markise Davis, Oxford; Kendrick Foster, Oxford; Gavin Orr, Southside; Tristan Riggin, Southside.

Oxford guard Eugene Leonard (12) assumes a defensive posture against Southside. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

To view a photo gallery from the game, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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