By Bryan Davis
There isn’t any quit in the West Point Green Wave boys basketball team. That being said, the Oxford Chargers are not going to give any either.
Both teams knew this going into Friday night’s district championship game at West Point High School. The first time they played, West Point won by nine. The second time, it was Oxford on top at the end by 19 points.
On Friday night, it was anybody’s game through three quarters. In the fourth, however, the Chargers broke away for 24 points, leaving West Point in the dust in a 71-61 final.
“I’m disappointed, and they’re disappointed, in the fact that we lost, but I could not be prouder of how hard they played,” said West Point head coach Brad Cox of his team after the game. “Basketball means a lot to these guys, and they want to succeed. It hurt them tonight.”
Knowing the district title was on the line, both teams came out with a lot of intensity in the first quarter. West Point scored 15 points in the first eight minutes, while they allowed 16 to Oxford.
Cortez Malone got the Green Wave on the board with a 2-point shot. A few minutes later, Daryl Thomas would break a 2-2 tie with a lay-up. Jaquille White added a pair of free throws, Tyrone Saverson hit a two, before A.J. Jones threw up the game’s first three-pointer for West Point to make it 14-13 Oxford. Saverson would finish out the first with a two-pointer.
In the second, things continued to remain tight, as Oxford once again out-scored the Green Wave by one in a 14-13 second. This left West Point Trailing 30-28 at the half.
Jones, Saverson and Thomas led the way again, with Thomas hitting his first three-pointer of the night, late in the second period.
West Point had a couple of really good surges on offense, that gave the team momentum throughout the game. One of those came in the third quarter, which led to the Green Wave capturing a 46-46 tie going into the fourth.
Thomas, Malone and Arrington Lenoir were the top scoring bunch for the Green Wave in this quarter. West Point would out-score Oxford 18-16, and they went into the final period with the game looking much like Tuesday night’s overtime win.
It would not turn out that way, however, as the Chargers managed to pull away, despite West Point’s best efforts in the fourth. The Green Wave got contributions from Laquante Gaston in the fourth, as well as Thomas, Lenoir and Jones, but it would not be enough.
Oxford would pull farther away in the final three minutes of the game, eventually sealing the 10-point loss.
Thomas would led the scoring with 14 points, and Gaston was right behind him with 10.
Malone and Lenoir scored eight each, and Jones had seven on the night. White and Saverson both had six points on the night as well.
The Green Wave will now travel to Indianola-Gentry, on Tuesday night, to start the first round of the North State Tournament.