E.A. Sports Today

Tough one to lose

Oxford rallies from 19 down at halftime, forces all the extra periods, but eventually falls to Plainview in double overtime

Wednesday’s games
Plainview Thanksgiving Shootout
Plainview 109, Oxford 99 (2OT)

Marble City Classic
Smiths Station 59, Childersburg 52
Talladega 63, Chelsea 53

By East Alabama Sports Today

RAINSVILLE – Oxford basketball coach Joel VanMeter told his players the night before that Wednesday’s game in the home of the reigning Class 3A state champion was going to be the best atmosphere they were going to play in all year. A Final Four type game is the way he put it.

His projection was right on the money.

In a game that carried all the emotion and intensity of any big game they could ever imagine playing, the Yellow Jackets rallied from 19 points down at halftime and 24 in the second half but fell to Plainview 109-99 in double overtime at the DeKalb County Schools Coliseum.

“It was as good a high school basketball game that you could watch and their crowd was into it,” VanMeter said. “It was a great environment for our guys to encounter.”

Both teams were playing their third game in as many nights, but that didn’t curtail their intensity. The Jackets (2-1) did their best to limit Plainview’s usually torrid 3-point shooting, holding the Bears to 10, but only two in the second half and overtimes. And they scored the points to extend the game at the end of regulation and overtime.

The Jackets trailed 51-39 at halftime and by 24 in the second half, but steadily climbed back into it. It was tied at 82 at the end of regulation and 92 at the end of the first overtime. The monentum finally swung back in Plainview’s favor after the Bears hit a 3-pointer in a one-possession game and then, as VanMeter put it, “the barrage hit.”

Eugene Leonard led the Yellow Jackets’ comeback, by all accounts taking over the game in the fourth quarter. He had 19 points in the second half, 11 in the fourth quarter.

Mont McClendon’s layup with two seconds left in regulation tied the game for Oxford at 82 and in the limited time that remained the Bears never got a shot to win it.

At the end of the first overtime Oxford’s Kobe Warren made a game-tying 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left. The officials put another 1.5 seconds back on the clock, the Jackets went into a 1-3-1 and the Bears didn’t get a good shot at the end.

The Jackets trailed by three with about two minutes left in the second overtime. They missed a shot, Plainview came down and hit a 3 to go up five, Oxford missed another shot and this time the Bears pulled away.

“The fourth quarter we just kept plugging, plugging and plugging and made some plays; we played with some toughness,” VanMeter said. “I thought our team in first half played too emotionally. When they had their run we didn’t stick our chin out and fight it, but in the second half we stuck stuck our chest out and our chin up and fought.”

“It was a zoo of a game,” Bears coach Robi Coker said. “Our guys have known their guys since junior high. This has really become almost like a brother rivalry.”

Plainview’s Koby Tinker led all scorers with 38 points; he hit six 3-pointers – all in the first half. Teammate Caden Millican had 27 and was particularly effective in overtime, especially after Tinker fouled out. Zondrick Garrett was Oxford’s top scorer with 24 points. Leonard had 23 and Justin Moore had 18, his third straight game off the bench in double figures.

The Jackets had a chance to close it out in the first overtime. Up one, they went to the line for two shots and had another two coming from a technical foul on Coker.

They missed the first two foul shots, Leonard hit the two technical foul shots, but the Jackets turned over the ensuing possession and instead of being up as many as eight in that exchange they kept the Bears in the game.

“We had our chance and didn’t do what needed to do,” VanMeter said. “It’s a nip-and-tuck game and when you play a team that’s seasoned and they’re good and you make mistakes they make you pay. I’m proud of our team because we fought through it. That game, regardless (if) you win or lose, it’s a win because it teaches you a lot. Hopefully we learned a lot from it. It’s not good if you don’t learn from it.”

Talladega 63, Chelsea 53: D’Corian Wilson scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter helping the Tigers break away 45-45 third-quarter tie and win the Marble City Classic in Sylacauga. Chaztin Tanner led the Tigers with 19 points, which included five 3-pointers. Kobe Simmons had 12 points and Aaron Green grabbed nine rebounds.

Plainview 109, Oxford 99 (3 OTs)
OXFORD (2-1) –
Rylan Houck 4 0-0 9, Zondrick Garrett 8 8-10 24, Eugene Leonard 8 6-6 23, Mont McClendon 5 0-3 11, Kobe Warren 5 0-0 12, Cordell Chatman 0 0-0 0, Justin Moore 7 3-4 18, Milas Jackson 1 0-0 2, Trafton Houck 0 0-0 0. Totals 38 17-21 99.
PLAINVIEW – Tristan Willingham 3 8-6 12, Cole Millican 3 0-0 7, Jackson Hosch 1 0-0 2, Taylor Haymon 4 0-1 9, Haden White 3 1-2 7, Caden Millican 7 12-13 27, Jonah Williams 0 0-0 0, Jathan Underwood 3 0-0 7, Koby Tinker 14 4-4 38. Totals 38 23-29 109.
Oxford 19 13 23 27 10 7 – 99
Plainview 22 29 21 10 10 17 – 109

3-point goals: Oxford 6 (R. Houck, Leonard, McClendon, Warren 2, Moore); Plainview 10 (Co. Millican, Haymon, Ca. Millican, Underwood, Tinker 6). Fouled out: Garrett, McClendon, Warren, Haymon, Tinker. Technical fouls: Plainview coach Coker. Total fouls: Oxford 28, Plainview 21. Officials: Graves, Dafran, Simpson.

Marble City Classic
Talladega 63, Chelsea 53
Michael Gibbs 7 0-1 14, Robert Marquet 2 0-0 5, Andrew Messier 1 0-1 2, Holton Smith 1 0-0 3, Bryant Royster 1 0-0 2, Gray Oldenburg 0 1-2 1, Jacob Tierney 3 0-0 6, Daniel Washington 8 4-7 20. Totals 23 5-11 53.
TALLADEGA – Chaztin Tanner 7 0-0 19, Jaquon Chatman 0 3-4 3, Aaron Green 3 0-0 6, D’Corian Wilson 6 3-3 15, Radarrius Montgomery 1 0-0 2, J.Q. Wilson 1 4-4 6, Kobe Simmons 6 0-0 12, Brocker Simmons 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 10-13 63.
Chelsea 16 15 14 8 – 53
Talladega 20 11 14 18 – 63

3-point goals: Chelsea 2 (Marquet, Smith); Talladega 5 (Tanner 5). Total fouls: Chelsea 14, Talladega 13. Officials: Childs, Stringer, Dupree.

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