Oxford took its first step on the climb back to the top with a convincing 62-17 victory over Weaver to conclude the first round of the tournament Tuesday evening.
“It’s important to them to establish momentum early in this tournament. We have eight seniors, and this tournament is really, really important to them,” Oxford coach Tonya Peoples said. “There’s nothing I have to tell them. They’ve been waiting on this tournament.”
In their game against the Lady Bearcats, the Lady Yellow Jackets raced out to an 8-0 within the first two minutes and 16 seconds of the game behind the scoring of seniors Casmine Copeland and Lexie Higgins.
“This win tonight feels good because most of us are seniors, and we want to come out on top this year,” said Copeland, who finished with a game-high 18 points.
Oxford ended the first quarter with an 18-0 lead, and it wasn’t until Weaver eighth-grader Rayne Beck hit a 3-point basket two minutes into the second quarter that the Bearcats got on the scoreboard. Heading into intermission, the Lady Yellow Jackets had a commanding 35-6 lead.
Weaver didn’t find much production offensively, except for Beck, who finished the night with 14 of the Bearcats’ 17 points.
Oxford also found production from two rising sophomores, Jordan Smith, who finished with 12 points, and Winter Taylor, who added 10.
“I noticed that the girls were trying to do some of the things we’ve been working on in practice. I think a couple of them shot the ball well from outside,” said Peoples. “I also thought we got up-and-down the court well, since we’ve been working on our transition game.”
Oxford will play its quarterfinal matchup Thursday at 7 p.m. against Pleasant Valley, which is coming off an overtime win over Saks.
“This win gets our confidence level up for sure,” Higgins said. “It also helps to carry the momentum going into the next game. We’ve had our ups-and-downs this season, but we have a really good team.”
Added Peoples: “We have to come in here and worry about us, and do the best we can, and maybe good things will happen.”