Defending 4A champions Oxford start new streak

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Oxford coach Shayne Linzy had a message for his Lady Chargers after a season-opening loss to Senatobia.
Oxford went undefeated last year and won the Class 4A state championship.
“It’s over, the streak is over,” Linzy told his players. “Now, let’s start your own streak. That was last year’s team.”
The Lady Chargers, behind 26 points from preseason all-state forward Alexus Malone, started their win streak Tuesday in the Tupelo Tip-Off Classic with a convincing 75-24 victory against Corinth.
Malone, a 5-foot-11 senior, scored 16 points in the first half to help Oxford build a commanding 45-16 halftime lead. She scored 10 points early in the third quarter and went to the bench with her team leading 58-18.
Malone, the top returning player from last season’s 33-0 team, thought her team responded well to Saturday’s 43-41 loss to Senatobia.
“Everybody was kind of down, especially coming off an undefeated season,” she said. “We needed that. We know this is going to be a rebuilding season.
“I do think we have enough talent to take us where we want to go.”
Linzy said he was proud of his team’s response against Corinth.
“We finished shots, we made free throws,” he said. “It was good to get that first win. I thought the girls played a lot looser tonight, more upbeat.”
Oxford hustled from the opening tip and upset the Lady Warriors with full-court pressure to roll to a 25-7 first-quarter lead.
Quickly clicking
The coach liked what he saw from his young lineup, one that featured two sophomores and a freshman, 5-11 forward Kyla Malone, the sister of Alexus.
“I wasn’t sure how effective our press would be,” he said. “Tonight, it clicked. We ran three different presses and the girls were able to adjust on the fly. We didn’t have to call a timeout.”
Janesha Johnson scored 13 points and returning starter Amber Sisk added 7 for Oxford. Aundrea Adams came off the bench with 7 to lead Corinth.
“Our offense goes through Alexus and Amber,” Linzy said. “You can put that in bold.”
gene.phelps@journalinc.com