E.A. Sports Today

Storybook Shadrix

White Plains edges Oxford in season opener on former Jacket Shadrix’ 4-point play with 5.6 seconds left

White Plains guard Simeon Shadrix (11) lurks in the corner awaiting the chance to launch a 3-pointer against his former team Friday night. Shadrix’ 4-point play with 5.6 seconds left gave the Wildcats the lead in their 47-46 win. (Photos by B.J. Franklin)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

It gets said a lot in these type situations but rarely is it more than hyperbole.

In this case, though, Hollywood couldn’t have written a better ending to White Plains’ season-opening 47-46 win over Oxford Friday night. It was pure storybook.

Simeon Shadrix, who started his schooling at White Plains then played at Oxford the past five years before transferring back for his senior year this summer, crushed his former mates with a four-point play with 5.6 seconds to play that gave the Wildcats the lead.

“It’s probably one of the biggest shots I’ve ever made,” Shadrix said.

The 3-pointer just tied the game – he still had even higher-pressured free throw to make for the lead to force Oxford’s hand – but you couldn’t tell that from the crowd’s reaction. And it grew even louder after Shadrix’ and-one dropped through the hoop to make it 47-46, a lead the Wildcats hadn’t seen since the end of the third quarter.

But it wasn’t over. It turned out to be the winning points and made the shy senior the object of a floor-rushing mob after Oxford guard Eugene Leonard missed two free throw with eight-tenths of a second left that could have given the Yellow Jackets the win or forced overtime.

Leonard drove the length of the floor, went hard to the basket and was fouled in the lane in the typical block-charge debate. He missed his first free throw off to the left of the goal. The second shot, which would have forced overtime, fell off the other side.

Leonard quietly declined a request to talk about the shots after the game.

Shadrix hit several big shots for the Yellow Jackets during his time there, and then in his first game against his former team he stuck it to them.

Nothing personal. He grew up in White Plains, went to Oxford when his mother began teaching there, then moved back to his home school after she took a teaching job in Mountain Brook.

“It was fun getting to play them, it was also fun getting to play with my teammates now, the friends I grew up with,” he said. “I knew the play would work; it worked the first time, I just missed it. I kept telling myself I’ve got to make this next one. My coach pulled me aside and said this next one’s going on, there’s no doubt about it.

“I could’ve never imagined it being this way. I couldn’t have written it like that.”

Oxford looked uncomfortable much of the first half against White Plains’ attacking style and fell behind 30-23 at halftime. It didn’t help the Jackets’ cause that post Zondrick Garrett was rendered ineffective by White Plains’ defense and in foul trouble much of the game. He was held to five points and one third-quarter field goal after having his most productive game of the season the night before in a 20-point Oxford win over Gadsden City.

White Plains’ defensive strategy frustrated Oxford’s Zondrick Garrett (1) into early foul trouble, eliminating his effectiveness. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

Roc Taylor helped bring the Jackets back in the third quarter. He sandwiched eight points around Garrett’s only field goal to tie the game at 33 with 3:53 left in the quarter and his aggressive put-back-and-one gave them a 44-39 lead with 7:07 to play.

Two free throws by Garrett with 1:20 left put the Jackets up 46-42, but they didn’t score again.

“The bottom line, and it wasn’t just the last 15 seconds, it wasn’t the last three possessions, we got outplayed,” Oxford coach Joel VanMeter said. “We got outplayed, we got outcoached, we got out-toughed and, bottom line, when you do those things the win’s gonna find you, and the win found them. I give them 110 percent of the credit.”

The Wildcats had two other 3-point shots before Shadrix’ game-changing exchange by other shooters that failed to connect. Shadrix was fouled chasing down the second rebound setting up his big shot, on a play the Wildcats call “Boston” designed by junior high coach John Bryan O’Connor.

Shadrix eventually got the ball in the right corner and with pressure bearing down on him let it fly. It looked pure as soon as it left his hand. The foul was inevitable the way the Jackets pursued it.

“If I had one shot for my life I’d want him to take it,” White Plains coach Chris Randall said. “There’s no doubt we were going to go to him. It was just could he get it off.

“And he does a good job of getting shots off in traffic, with people running at him. He didn’t have a lot of space, Oxford did a good job, but he was able to get rid of it. The defender just couldn’t slow his momentum down, but Simeon did a real good job of focusing.”

OXFORD – Rylen Houck 1 0-0 2, Zondrick Garrett 1 3-4 5, Eugene Leonard 3 4-6 12, Mont McClendon 5 0-2 11, Kobe Warren 1 0-1 3, Rok Taylor 6 1-1 13, Cordell Chatman 0 0-0 0, Justin Moore 0 1-2 1, Milas Jackson 0 0-0 0, Trafton Houck 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 9-16 46.
WHITE PLAINS – Houston Conger 0 1-2 1, Quin Wilson 3 1-2 7, Jaden Chatman 0 0-0 0, Simeon Shadrix 2 1-1 6, Jacob Wheeler 3 0-0 8, Brody Baker 4 0-0 9, Matthew Clay 1 7-8 9, Jaden Harns 0 0-0 0, Kahlil Williams 1 0-0 2, Gavin Burrage 1 3-4 5. Totals 15 13-17 47.
Oxford 8 15 13 10 – 46
White Plains 8 22 9 8 – 47

3-point goals: Oxford 3 (Leonard, McClendon, Warren); White Plains 4 (Shadrix, Wheeler 2, Baker). Total fouls: Oxford 18, White Plains 18.

Somewhere in that crowd rushing the floor White Plains guard Simeon Shadrix is getting a hero’s welcome after hitting the big shot in the Wildcats’ win over Oxford. (EA Sports Today photo)

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