SENATOBIA – The Oxford Chargers played their first games in nearly three weeks, but they were able to come away with two wins.
Oxford on Monday defeated Bayou Academy out of Greenwood 60-47 and then on Tuesday defeated Northpoint Christian out of Southaven 55-47 in the Magnolia Heights Memorial Classic held at Magnolia Heights School. In both games, Oxford held a sizable lead after three quarters, and because there is no shot clock in high school the Chargers were able to successfully burn minutes off the clock without committing a turnover, something that hasn’t been easy to do for Oxford in games in past seasons.
“The thing that has helped us the most with that game plan (of running time off the clock) is we’ve spread the floor and we are using every inch of the half-court set on offense,” veteran Oxford coach Drew Tyler said after the second game. “We are really spreading the floor with our players. We haven’t gone to an all-out stall. We want to be the aggressor. When we spread, run clock, and people come at us, we aren’t playing horizontal basketball like we have some in the past that has led to some turnovers or has led to a bad low-percentage shot.
“The twist as far as staying aggressive and not playing horizontal is we’re attacking towards the goal or we’re passing towards half court and they’re having to guard the whole court because we have the lead,” Tyler continued. “We’re running offensive sets with the lead. I like that we’re making smart decisions, run clock, and be the aggressor at the same time. We’ve had pretty good glimpses of that in these two games at Magnolia Heights.”
Coming out of quarantine, Oxford needed a couple of games to get back into the swing of the regular season especially with division play starting next week. Tyler thought his team did look rusty in spots and it was really the first time the Chargers were able to play with their football players since coming back from playing in the state championship game earlier this December.
“It’s a little bit different animal,” Tyler said. “It had more to do with us not being in sync. Two of our football players played a lot. They come out of the football state championship and we’re in quarantine and they played a lot of minutes in their first two games back and did a lot for us and helped us get two wins. Two new bodies coming in and they did a lot for us.
“We had to change some things up and got out of sync on offense at times,” Tyler continued. “We will have a couple practice days now where we can bring in those football players and have a little bit more rhyme and reason offensively. Yes, we had some rust, quarantine brought that on. Got to mesh these guys coming off that football field. What we proved (the last two days) is that we can win a low-scoring game.”
Chase Rose led Oxford with 43 total points between the two games to go along with 11 rebounds, four steals, and a pair of blocks. Derrius Southern complemented Rose with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists in the two games. Earl Shaw stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and seven steals in the two games.