#2 - Oxford vs. South Jones (2nd Meeting)
Girls Basketball 2011-12 - "Undefeated!"
Here comes Oxford, coming in with a 32-0 record and looking at finishing the year undefeated with the Gold Ball going back home. With a win, Oxford would finish at 33-0 beating a team they beat exactly 3 months previously led by #3 Erika Sisk being played on March the 3rd in Linzy's 3rd Season as the Oxford Coach. (The only thing this was missing in this game was being ranked 3rd, but its not).
This time around, South Jones had their two best players back that had to miss the first meeting between the two teams. With a Championship on the line, both teams were going to give everything to win this game.
The Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen PG E. Sisk and Kristen Dickerson got into early foul trouble and had to sit in the first half. South Jones was able to make a 2-point lead in the first quarter (16-14) but it did not hold.
The Lady Chargers with Sisk and Dickerson on the bench for the majority of the half changed defenses to get South Jones off balance. They were successful in doing so and was rewarded with a 5-point edge at halftime.
Then the two point guards took over the game, and not fouling to do so. If it was not Sisk making a play to her sister Amber Sisk or one of the two Centers in Meisha Gillom and Alexus Malone, Dickerson was stepping up and making a play on defense for E. Sisk or making a play on offense. The dangerous combination helped get the Lady Chargers up to a 10-point lead (48-38) after 3 quarters.
Then it was Sisk doing it all, to either burn time off the clock, finding a player open to make a play or hitting free throws to ice the game - it was their game to lose. Oxford was able to stop the threat of their two best players in the game enough to earn a hard-fought 62-54 win and earn the Lady Chargers their 4th Gold Ball in school history and the first since the three-peat back in 1995-98.
The hugging started after Sisk stole her millionth ball of the season with about 5 seconds left and so did all the tears that came afterward and it became reality. The only undefeated Championship team in school history (for either gender) belongs to the 2011-12 Oxford Lady Chargers. The most exciting moment of being a fan is witnessing your team win the Championship of all Championships -- the State Championship. Which sport you win it all has some degree of triumph, Basketball is considered one of the "Big 3" sports.
Their success can be contributed to their suffocating press defense leading to easy buckets and gaining big leads to most of their wins. For much of the season, Lanier was considered the heavy favorite to win the Gold Ball that year after winning it the year before and returning everyone before they saw Center Hill come in and bring their back-to-back dreams to a stunning and screeching halt - and it was done in Oxford's home gym (during the North Half Tournament OHS hosted) with the Lady Chargers watching from their locker room door.
Center Hill was not a cupcake by any means (they DID beat the presumed favorite team to win it all in Lanier) but after the North Half Tournament, it just appeared that outside of Lanier - which Oxford never did face - that no one was going to stop these girls from winning it all.
Oxford's entire season of being 2nd ranked and wanting to prove something to everyone, the talent this team had and the "family" attitude that came with it - Dickerson made the decision to stay at OHS for her senior year instead of going with her dad who is the Head Football Coach at Gardner-Webb - along with this entire magical journey they had punctuated by winning a Championship in one of the "Big 3" sports for the first time since 2005 and in Basketball since 2001 makes this game ranked 2nd in the Top 20 Games Countdown.
And if you have been keeping up with the Top 20 Countdown list for the past 6-7 weeks - I did say there are TWO exception games in this Top 20 Countdown - I've only done one (#8 Game), that means the #1 Game is a game outside the year 2004 and it will be revealed August 29th.