It’d be a mistake to measure Vinemont against its record rather than its penchant for winning big-time games.
The Eagles won a couple of matchups down the stretch to keep its No. 2 seed in the area tournament before securing a huge win over Danville in said tourney to earn a sub-regional contest versus Hamilton on Friday night.
As Britney Spears might say, “Oops, they did it again.”
Vinemont received double-digit scoring contributions from three players and played exceptional defense to earn a huge 61-53 upset victory over the Aggies.
Lance Stanley made four 3’s to finish with a 21 points, while Garrett Sipe and Austin Mosley each headed back home with 10 in the road victory. Austan Hedgecock was good for seven points, Zach Drake and Riley Foust had six apiece, and Tyler Tucker tossed in a single free throw to help the Red and White (14-15) find their way back to Wallace State next week.
Hamilton concluded its season at 21-6.
“I knew going in they were a good team. I knew they had 20-plus wins,” Vinemont coach Todd Johnson said of the Aggies. “But I think we’ve dropped five or six games ourselves that could’ve gone our way, so I feel comfortable with our team. If Garrett plays real solid in the post, and we don’t turn the ball over, I feel like we can match up with just about anyone we play with.”
Once on the wrong side of a seven-game run, the Eagles have turned their luck around with wins in six of their last nine contests. Johnson has a pretty good idea why his team is coming around when it matters most.
“From Christmas on, we’ve played a little better defense and put a real emphasis on protecting the ball each possession and getting good, quality shots,” he said. “It’s paying off down the stretch.”
The Red and White will take on defending Class 3A state champion Madison Academy (19-13) Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
“They’ve got athletes. They’ve got size. They’ve got quickness. They’re well-coached,” Johnson said of the second-ranked Mustangs. “We’ll have to have some breaks go our way and play very solid ourselves.”
% The Times’ Jake Winfrey contributed to this report.