COLUMN: JACKSON — Oxford’s latest girls basketball title, captured Saturday with a 62-54 win over South Jones at the Mississippi Coliseum, was all about family.
The Lady Chargers are more than a team, they are a compilation of young women that consider themselves to be sisters rather than teammates.
They have worked in unison for some time now, longer than just this magical season, and their affection for one another is visible in everything they do. The Oxford girls play for each other, they hustle as one, they dive after loose balls as a group and they certainly celebrate wins together.
In short, the Lady Chargers are more than just one outstanding player in Erika Sisk or a great coach in Shayne Linzy. They’re a cohesive unit that really backs up a family-first approach.
No one player demonstrated that way of thinking more this year than senior guard Kristen Dickerson. The standout defensive stopper and clutch offensive performer had a tough choice to make after last season. With her father, Ron, gone from Oxford to become the head football coach at Gardner-Webb, Dickerson and her family were faced with the decision of moving to North Carolina to join her father or to stay in Oxford for her senior season and help the Lady Chargers win this fourth gold ball they now possess.
Dickerson ultimately decided to stay and now has a third championship ring to put on her finger alongside the other two she already earned as a member of the track team.
“I knew I had a better chemistry with these girls here. These are my sisters and I love them with all my heart. I knew this win would be a lot better than going somewhere else,” Dickerson said. “It’s amazing. It was worth it. The girls that are out here, they worked hard with me and they knew what we had to do.”
The Lady Chargers did know what to do to win a title and stay undefeated in the process and they knew what to do when Dickerson wasn’t on the floor the last five and a half minutes of the second quarter.
Even though OHS was behind by four when Dickerson was sent to the bench with her third foul, the Lady Chargers picked up her slack with their deep bench and a grit that no other team was able to match all season long.
Dickerson expressed great joy about the way her “sisters” played when she was on the bench, while all she thought about was helping them once Linzy re-inserted her into the lineup.
“I was thinking ‘what am I doing? My team needs me out there and I need to be smarter out there on the court and do what my team needs me to do,’” Dickerson said. “I needed to figure out what I needed to do to help my team on the court so I wouldn’t foul any more.”
She scored five of her eight points after returning to the game in the third quarter.
After being whistled for three fouls in 11 minutes of action in the first half, she only picked up one more in the final 16 minutes.
Dickerson stepped up her game for her sisters like they had for her when she wasn’t in.
Dickerson was on the floor when the game ended and she was one of the first to grab a sister to congratulate once the final buzzer sounded.
It was a story-book ending for the Lady Chargers, a moment that will be remembered for years to come.
Best of the best
This team, this group of sisters, are not only the best in 5A this year but arguably the best team to ever put on an OHS jersey because of the unblemished record. It was made possible through a lot of hard work in the summer and offseason and with great execution during the year, but it was also made possible through decisions such as the one Dickerson decided on so many months ago.
Could OHS had won the title without Dickerson, or another girl, in the lineup? It’s very possible, but the reality is that it wouldn’t have been as sweet and it wouldn’t have felt quite the same as it does today for this tight knit family unit. (March 5, 2012, Page 6A)