Vincent boys advance to Sweet 16 over Lamar County

Published 11:48 pm Saturday, February 15, 2014

Vincent's Jace Greene goes up for a layup in a win over Lamar County Feb. 14. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

Vincent’s Jace Greene goes up for a layup in a win over Lamar County Feb. 14. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Writer

VINCENT — Survive and advance.

It’s a motto every basketball team adopts during championship tournaments, and the Vincent boys’ squad is no exception, as the Yellow Jackets scrapped their way to a 58-46 Feb. 14.

Lamar County opened  the game on an 8-7 run, adding two more points on a pair of free throws, but Jamal McCrimmon added a bucket to pull the Jackets within one at the end of the first.

The Bulldogs added four to start the second quarter before E.J. Datcher used a strong post game to kick off a 7-0 run, capped off by a 3-pointer by Roderick Brown to give Vincent a 16-14 lead midway through the quarter.

A Bulldog free thrown and basket put LCHS up 17-16 with 1:45 left in the half, but another Brown three and a pair of McCrimmon free throws gave the Jackets a 21-19 into the half.

Vincent kicked off the second half in style, with JaCorey Roper draining a three and McCrimmon adding a bucket to give the Jackets a 26-19 lead. A 5-0 run by Lamar County pulled the Bulldogs within two at 26-24.

The rest of the quarter saw the squads trade blows, the first two coming on a bucket by Roper and then one by the Bulldogs’ Alex Wheeler. Roper drained a three, matched by Lamar County’s Bryce Miles, as the Jackets and Bulldogs battled to a 36-34 score in favor of the Jackets at the end of the third quarter.

A pair of free throws by Cornell Bonner, a basket by Datcher and a Brown 3-pointer gave the Jackets a 43-34 lead with 5:46 left in the game. A 10-6 run by the Bulldogs cut the Vincent lead to 47-44 with 2:45 left.

As the momentum began to swing in favor of the visitors, Datcher and Jace Greene rose to the occasion. An alley oop dunk by Datcher shook the crowd up and kick started the Jacket offense, while steal and layup by Greene led to a 4-point run late in the quarter, sealing the 58-46 win.

Head coach John Hadder said he was proud of the win, but addressed some concerns with the team’s performance.

“For us, it’s usually not a lack of effort,” he said. “We didn’t execute real well the first half, although I think they did out play us the first half. We tell our guys ‘You deserve what you get,’ and if we were going to win, it would be because we put forth the effort and deserved to win. I didn’t think that was evident in the first half, but I think in the second half we looked like we wanted it a little more.”
Brown led the way scoring for Vincent with 16 points, while Datcher had 11 and McCrimmon had nine.

The Jackets move on to face Lexington High, with the date yet to be announced.