Vincent advances to 3rd straight Sweet 16, seeks redemption
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
VINCENT – It was a dominant night for the Vincent Yellow Jackets on Tuesday, Feb. 11, as they locked up a third consecutive trip to the Sweet 16 behind a 60-30 victory against Cleveland.
Coming into the season with the goal of redeeming last year’s heartbreaking Elite Eight loss where the Jackets led at the half, Vincent is now just one win away from getting back to that point and just two wins from advancing to the Final Four.
The Jackets, who entered the sub-regional game off a win in the area tournament championship and as winners of 11 in a row, came out and put up a 41-point first half, but more impressively, they allowed just two points in each of the first two quarters.
Vincent was able to put together such a dominant performance because of the effort on both ends of the floor. The defense was quick to the ball despite decent ball movement from Cleveland, which led to contested shots or forced dribbles, both of which led to fast breaks and easy baskets on the other end for the Yellow Jackets.
In the opening quarter, Vincent got nine points from Ryshod Keith, seven from Tae McGregor and five from Malik Hamilton to post 21 and take a 21-2 advantage.
That just built the confidence of the entire team, who came out and posted 20 points in the second period behind five apiece from Keith and Treston Smith, while Jackson McGinnis posted all six of his points in the game.
With a 41-4 win at the half, Vincent came out and played its starters for the first minute of the second half, before giving them rest for the rest of the night ahead of the Sweet 16 matchup.
While it will help them be fresh and rested, it also led to great opportunities for younger players in the second half. Freshman Blake Allums hit a 3-pointer off the bench, while fellow freshman Tyqun Goodman got offensive rebound after offensive rebound to post four points.
With the large lead, the Jackets were able to coast to a comfortable 30-point victory.
Keith led the Yellow Jackets with 14 points, while McGregor posted nine and Malik Hamilton had eight.
Vincent will now test its 12-game winning streak and 25-2 record against Tanner in the Sweet 16 on Friday, Feb. 14. Tanner is the team that ousted the Jackets in the Elite Eight last year by a final of 46-33 and kept them from the Final Four. The game will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Wallace State Hanceville.