Boys’ basketball recap: Jackets swarming into the postseason

There are many things to buzz about when referring to Vincent High basketball these days. Times are changing, but there is one thing that has remained the same with the Yellow Jackets—success on the hardwood.

In his third year leading the Yellow Jackets, head coach Stacy McGehee has developed a program in eastern Shelby County that continues to be a stinger in the side of many opponents year after year, especially class 2A, Area 3.

“We have a great thing going on right now,” McGehee said. “We have great kids that love to play the game and want to win.”

The Yellows Jackets (11-8) tallied another regular season win Thursday night over the Montevallo Bulldogs (4-13), 73-53. Assisted with a 24-7 first-quarter run, Devonta Williams led the way for the Jackets with 15 third quarter points. Fresh off a trip to Washington D.C. for the inauguration of President Barak Obama, Williams finished the night leading all scorers with 23 points. Ben McKinney favored the effort of Williams with a 16-point night.

Brandon Lilly knocked down 15 points for the Dawgs while Derek Freeman and Toney Kent added 12 each.

It was a demanding win over the Bulldogs, no doubt. However, it was evident that the Jackets lacked focus and crispness at times. McGehee was well aware of the cause and happy with the win.

“We just had four or five kids just return from Washington, D.C. and hadn’t been allowed to practice,” McGehee said. “We were a little bit rusty tonight with our shooting, especially in the first half. We didn’t play with the intensity that we needed to on the defensive end at times. It was a good win, but we have some things that we’ll need to continue to work on.”

Williams was joined on the D.C. trips by teammates Juwan Rogers, Tevin Carter and Centauri Calhoun.

As the regular season comes to a close, the Jackets will find themselves in familiar post season territory yet again. For the second time in three years, they have secured the regular season 2A, Area 3 title that enables them to host the area tournament in their home gym.

For now, one road that leads to the AHSAA Final Four will have run through Vincent first and McGehee knows the importance of the home court advantage.

“Being able to host the area tournament is very important,” he said. “Our guys have worked real hard to be able to have the tournament again in our home gym. Hopefully being able to play in front of our fans, in the comfort of our home gym, will pay off for us.”

The Jackets face three games before the end of the regular season, a tune-up game against Fayetteville and tough battles against Shelby County and Calera.

“We are really coming together and working together as a team,” McGehee said. “We are playing like a team, scoring like a team, and not playing selfish basketball.”

In other boys’ games from staff reports:

-THOMPSON 62, MINOR 53: Siddeeq Cooper led Minor with 20 points, as Thompson (13-9) took a 27-24 lead at halftime and outscored the Tigers by six in the second half.

-CORNERSTONE 80, CHAMBERS 31: JV McKinney and Kendall Moore combined for 48 points, as McKinney scored 25 and Moore had 23. McKinney’s defense helped lead to the Chargers’ scoring with eight rebounds and seven steals. Steven Bulger had a double-double, 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Dunnaway had 10 points and 10 rebounds. CCS (19-1) improved to 14-1 in AISA Class 1A, Region 1.

-SHELBY ACAD. 69, LIGHTHOUSE 54:Shelby Academy remained unbeaten in AISA Class 1A, Region 1 (18-4, 14-0) with the help of 30 points from Sean Gilbert and 16 points and 12 rebounds form Jacob Lumpkin. Bobby Sexton led Shelby with 15 rebounds.