E.A. Sports Today

Classic comeback

Alexander’s free throws and blocked shot caps fourth-quarter rally that lifts Oxford over Jackson-Olin in Heritage Classic

Oxford 52, Jackson-Olin 51

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

FAIRFIELD – Jaylen Alexander made two free throws with 39 seconds left to give Oxford its first lead of the game and then blocked a 3-pointer in the corner in the closing seconds to cap a fourth-quarter rally that lifted the Yellow Jackets over Jackson-Olin 52-51 in the consolation bracket of the Fairfield Heritage Classic.

The Jackets were in catch-up mode all night. They trailed by 13 to start the fourth quarter, but then came to life on both ends of the floor.

Caleb Sanders led the defensive effort with six steals in the quarter. Alexander and Jayden Lewis finished them off on the offensive end. Alexander scored 10 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter and Lewis added six of his 17 points there.

“We started applying some pressure, we went to our red press, kind of a run-and-jump, and we forced them to turn it over some,” VanMeter said. “Caleb was an unbelievable defensive presence on the ball. The scoring was picked up by Jaylen and Jayden. Jay (Lewis) was scoring around the rim, Jaylen was scoring wherever he wanted to.”

With less than a minute to go Alexander hit a pull-up jumper from 12 feet to bring the Jackets within one. They got a defensive stop with a turnover and Alexander drove to the rim and was fouled. His two free throws made it 52-51.

Jackson-Olin still had a chance. With time running out Jeremiah Taylor lined up in the corner for a 3, but Alexander flashed out and blocked it to preserve the lead.

“We had great defensive rotation, everybody was in the right spot,” VanMeter said. “We forced them to shoot a contested 3 in the corner and Jaylen blocked it.”

Jaylen Alexander 8 4-5 23, Caleb Sanders 0 0-1 0, Dashaun Callaway 0 0-0 0, Chase Truitt 0 0-0 0, Brock Reaves 2 0-0 6, Jayden Lewis 7 3-5 17, Marcus Perry 1 0-0 3, Cristian Gibson 1 0-0 3, Anthony Davis 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 7-10 52.
JACKSON-OLIN – Christopher Hayes 2 1-2 5, Amauria Caffey 5 2-3 12, David Green 4 4-6 14, Christian Moko 5 0-0 10, Jeremiah Taylor 1 0-0 2, Reginald Ward 2 0-0 6, Lamarius Burns 0 0-0 0, Jordan Spencer 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 7-11 51.

Oxford159919 –52
Jackson-Olin1714155  –51

3-point goals: Oxford 7 (Alexander 3, Reaves 2, Perry, Gibson); J-O 4 (Green 2, Ward 2). Total fouls: Oxford 16, J-O 13. Officials: Baldwin, Clay, Bradford.

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