Gadsden City girls beat Oxford for area tournament title
Sat. February 09, 2013 at 11:08 p.m. | By Nick Johnston Sports Writer
Gadsden City’s Daijia Williams takes a shot as Oxford’s Deanna Clark defends during Saturday night’s game. (Photo by Dave Hyatt | Gadsden Times)
Daijia Williams had the time of her basketball life.
“I smiled the whole time,” the 6-foot-2 Gadsden City post player said. “I was having a great time.”
Williams scored 25 points to lead the Titans to a 52-23 win over the Oxford Yellow Jackets on Saturday night for the Class 6A, Area 9 tournament championship. It was the fifth straight area tournament title for the Titans, who advanced to Thursday’s sub-regional round against Lee-Huntsville.
Williams, who was the tourney’s MVP, dominated inside, especially when Oxford scaled back its full-court press to a 2-2-1 zone and some man-to-man defense.
“When they went into a man it really worked for me because I was able to step up and get open,” Williams said.
Of course, the man-to-man defense didn’t last long. Still, Gadsden City coach Jeremy Brooks knew his team had the advantage in a halfcourt game.
“Man-to-man, they went three or four possessions and we hurt them each time getting the ball inside to (Williams),” Brooks said. “They didn’t really have the post presence to deal with her, and that was a bonus for us tonight.”
Oxford (11-15) came into the game on a roll, upsetting heavily favored Clay-Chalkville in the semifinals to advance to Saturday’s game.
“I was really glad we got off to a good start because they were really coming in here with momentum,” Brooks said. “Defensively, we thought we could do some things that could cause problems.”
Did the Titans ever.
Gadsden City jumped out to an 11-3 lead by the end of the first quarter and led 23-10 at halftime. Oxford made just two field goals in the first half and was 5 of 12 from the free-throw line.
“We were getting some decent looks, and it just wasn’t falling,” Oxford coach Tonya Peoples said. “We might have been a little too jacked up.”
The Yellow Jackets also had trouble taking care of the ball, committing nine turnovers in the first half. And, of course, containing Williams proved too difficult.
“We tried to front her,” People said. “They beat us on the board really bad. You can’t have turnovers like we did and you can’t allow a team two or three shots when they’re a good team. And Gadsden is. When you give a team like Gadsden two or three looks each time or allow them to shoot on the block like they did, you’re behind the eight ball.”
Williams scored 10 points in the third quarter as the Titans took a 39-16 lead into the fourth quarter.
Brooks likes the way his squad is looking at the most crucial time of the year.
“We’re definitely playing our best basketball right now,” he said. “All-around, that was a solid performance. They actually do have several players that can score, but we just played good assignment basketball and defensively gave them trouble.”
TK Blount scored nine points for the Titans. Point guard Brooke Burns capably operated the offense and had six points.
Deanna Clark scored six points to lead Oxford.