Vincent wins area title, gears up for 17th postseason in a row

Published 3:05 pm Sunday, February 12, 2023

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

VINCENT – A year ago, the Vincent Yellow Jackets were able to continue their postseason streak to 16 games, but they walked away from the season with a bitter taste in their mouth after losing in the area tournament championship and the first round of the playoffs.

Entering the 2022-2023 season, that was still on the mind of this year’s team and a driving force as the Jackets began the area tournament on Thursday, Feb. 9.

Not only did they open with a win to continue their postseason streak to 17 consecutive years, but they got their first shot at redemption in the area championship game and capitalized in a thrilling 56-55 win over Cornerstone Schools of Alabama.

With the win, the Jackets earned hosting rights for their sub-regional matchup with Southeastern, as they hope to make it to the Sweet 16.

In a tightly-contested battle with Cornerstone, it was a big second quarter from the Yellow Jackets that ultimately made the difference in claiming the area title.

The Jackets put together a 20-point period that gave them a seven-point advantage going into the half, and they were able to fend off the Eagles from there en route to the tight one-point victory.

In the opening quarter, the two teams began an evenly matched battle by fighting to a scrappy 13-13 tie through the first eight minutes of action.

Vincent, however, started the second quarter strong and was able to create the first separation of the game.

The Jackets put together the most points of either team in a quarter with their 20-point effort, while the defense limited the Eagles to 13 or less for the second of three straight quarters to take a 33-26 lead into the halftime break.

That put the Eagles in a position of battling from behind, which Vincent tried to capitalize on early in the second half.

The game, however, took a more defensive shift in the third quarter. The Yellow Jackets limited Cornerstone to 11, continuing an impressive game, but they only scored 10 themselves.

With a minute remaining in the period, Vincent led 41-34, maintaining the seven-point lead, but Cornerstone followed with a 3-pointer, while the Jackets were able to get two more points to take a 43-37 lead into the final quarter.

Cornerstone, however, saved its best quarter for last.

Vincent did score the first points of the final quarter with technical free throws within the first 30 seconds of the period from Blake Allums, but the Eagles responded.

They scored 18 points the rest of the way, clawing all the way back into the game, but Vincent did just enough in the final minute from the free throw line to hold on for the one-point victory as Cornerstone’s last attempt at a game-winning shot was unsuccessful.