Boys sub-regional: Oxford advances to regional matchup with defending state champs

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Oxford head coach Joel Van Meter with Roc Taylor during the Calhoun County basketball tournament. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)

OXFORD — Oxford guard Kobe Warren engineered a finely tuned offense with precision as the Yellow Jackets picked apart the Lee-Huntsville Generals 57-43 in a Class 6A sub-regional home game Tuesday night.

The win puts Oxford (21-8) into the Northeast Regional semifinals Friday at Jacksonville State.

“It was what you expect out of a senior guard,” Oxford head coach Joel Van Meter said. “He put our offense where it needed to be and controlled the whole game out there. Last year, after we lost to Huffman in the regional finals, I could see the hurt on him and his dad’s face and he is determined to make up for last year.”

The taller Generals (16-10) came in trying to pound the ball inside, but Zondrick Garrett blocked seven shots and was a terror on the boards with nine rebounds. He also added three dunks and 17 points.

Roc Taylor was superb as well. He took on the challenge of shutting down the Generals best player, 6-foot-8 Kaleb Brown, after Brown scored five points in the first two minutes of the game. Brown did not score the rest of the contest as Taylor shadowed him constantly.

Taylor also scored 17 points and pulled down six rebounds. The Jackets led by six at the half and blew the game open in the third quarter. They took a 15-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Justin Moore and Rylan Houck scored seven points apiece, and Warren added five points.

Before postseason play, Van Meter said, “Our region is the toughest I have ever seen it. Whoever wins this thing and goes to state is going to be a special team.”

The Jackets are in a region that features six of the top 10 Class 6A teams in the final rankings of the regular season.

The Yellow Jackets will have to face defending state champion Pinson Valley (18-3) in the next round on Friday at 1:30 p.m. and then play either Albertville (25-5) or Huffman (28-3) in the regional finals.

Albertville stunned Mae Jemison on their home court 48-40 Tuesday night. The Aggies have lost twice to Oxford in the last two weeks

The Yellow Jackets need only two victories to win a regional crown, but have a formidable schedule ahead of them.

“That is why we have played the schedule that we have played,” Van Meter said. ”It was to prepare us for games like we have been having and facing the different styles of basketball.”