Jacksonville, AL – Behind Whitfield and McGrue, Oxford’s experienced girls successfully defend their Calhoun County Tournament title, go back-to-back for first time since 2006
CALHOUN COUNTY TOURNAMENT
Oxford 56, Anniston 38
By Al Muskewitz
Mya McGrue’s primary role on the Oxford girls basketball team is to be a defensive specialist. But when she adds just a bit of scoring to the mix, coach Melissa Bennett says, the Lady Jackets become “a more complete team.” The senior guard filled both roles perfectly Friday night, disrupting a lot of what Anniston wanted to do offensively and then leading her team with 17 points in a 56-38 win to repeat as the Calhoun County Tournament girls champions.
In addition to disrupting the Lady Dawgs’ plans, McGrue helped control Oxford’s tempo with Woods falling into early foul trouble and the Lady Jackets playing what Bennett called “point guard by committee.” It was Oxford’s eighth county title all-time and the first time it has gone back-to-back since 2005-06. The Lady Jackets handed Anniston its worst loss in seven county tournament finals defeats; the Lady Bulldogs have won the tournament 21 times. Oxford ended their run of five titles in a row last year.
The 38 points were the fewest Anniston has scored in a girls county final since 1998 (27 vs. Jacksonville) and the third fewest in their finals history “Any time you can beat Anniston, you’re pretty proud, because Anniston is such an established program,” Bennett said. “Coach (Eddie) Bullock does such a good job with them. His kids play so hard, they’re so good on defense, they’re so fast. “Going back-to-back, somebody told me that’s the first time that’s happens since 05-06, so it’s very special to be able to do that. It’s a grueling week. We were talking about that on the bus. We’ve been here every night, so to cap it off (with the title), it just brings such a good energy to your program.”
McGrue might be seen as “a stud defensive player,” and she was voted best defensive player of the tournament, but she got the Lady Jackets going with her scoring. She hit their first basket of the game – created by her own steal – and had six of their first 12 points as they quickly established control of the game. She had a stretch in the second quarter in which she scored seven consecutive points, giving her 13 for the game, two more at the time than Anniston’s entire output. “She stretches the defense and can get out in front of the defense,” Bennett said. “You’re always under pressure if you’re trying to stop her because she’s so fast. She does a great job of getting the defense at a disadvantage because of how fast she is. Everybody in the NBA always talks about their Big 3, well, our Big 3 is Mya, Justice and Xai (Whitfield).”