By Brandon Speck/Monroe Journal
JACKSON – For the first time, an Oxford basketball team has finished undefeated and the Lady Chargers’ perfect season ends with the MHSAA Class 5A championship.
Oxford (33-0) fought through foul trouble and pulled away late in the third quarter Saturday at the Mississippi Coliseum in a 62-54 win against South Jones.
“We’re excited to be undefeated but the whole goal was to have a chance to win state,” Oxford coach Shayne Linzy said. “The girls did it and we’re super excited.”
It’s Oxford’s fourth title, its first since three straight from 1996-98.
It was the second time the teams met, the first meeting a 72-27 blowout Oxford handed the Lady Braves (28-8), then without two of their top scorers.
Seniors Keosha Wilson, who led the team with 16.9 points per game and Khadejah Buxton, third with 7.2, both missed the game in Pontotoc’s Dec.3 Battle of the Best with a dislocated knee and torn ACL.
“We obviously had to concentrate a little more on Wilson,” Linzy said. “She does a great job on the inside. We had to find a way to slow her down. In the second half, we let some fresher bodies bang on her.”
Saturday, the two combined for 21 points, 16 for Wilson with 10 rebounds. Buxton will have ACL surgery next week.
Oxford led 29-24 at the half and stretched it to 48-38 on Lameisha Gillom’s score to end the third. The 12-1 run led the Lady Chargers to a 50-38 lead on a pair of Erica Sisk free throws.
The Murray State signee scored a game-high 20, had six boards and six assists. She hit 4 of 19 from the field but was 11 of 16 from the line.
With Oxford struggling to make a shot in the fourth, South Jones (28-8) cut the lead to four. But Oxford went to senior Kristen Dickerson for the first field goal of the quarter with 2:38 left. Alexus Malone’s drive and bucket then gave her team a 56-48 lead.
“We just calmed down and got into the game. We knew we all wanted a championship,” Sisk said.
Malone had 10 points before fouling out. Gillom had 12 and nine rebounds.
“We had a hard time with them on the inside,” South Jones coach Sherri Cooley said. “We didn’t do a good job of boxing out. They have a fine program.”