A torrent of Spring Hill scoring in the third quarter sunk the Mineola Yellowjackets 60-39 in the Spring Hill Christmas Tourney championship game on Dec. 29. Despite a near perfect start and a tie score at the half, the Yellowjackets were overwhelmed in the second half. The hosts scored at will and held Mineola to three points in the critical third quarter.
At the end of the first quarter of play the courtside announcer exclaimed, “How is that for some championship basketball!” It was indeed a quarter of excellent basketball, and likely one of Mineola’s best quarters of action all year. Each starter scored in the opening stanza, while the Yellowjackets pulled down 12 rebounds, and suffered zero turnovers. Four of the Yellowjackets scores were off offensive rebound put-backs.
Defensively, the team looked well-prepared and cohesive. Spring Hill struggled to create open shots against a hustling Yellowjacket defense. Only a technical foul midway through the quarter marred Mineola’s early performance. At the quarter Mineola had a 21–16 lead.
The second stanza was like entering a twilight zone. Neither team could get untracked with long periods of possession at each end resulted in few clear scoring opportunities. Winger Shaw Franklin created two buckets from the lane for all of Mineola’s scoring, while Spring Hill hit two 3-pointers and a deuce in the quarter. The score was tied at 25 at the half.
Spring Hill simply dominated the third quarter. They out-rebounded the Yellowjackets 9 to 2, while pouring in 19 points. The Panthers opened their initial lead by pressing the ball full court at every opportunity. A Kadavian George three-pointer from the baseline was the only Mineola score of the quarter. Going into the fourth quarter Spring Hill led 44–28.
The margin was too much to overcome for Mineola and the hosts had found their mo-jo. The lead ballooned to 21 points midway through the fourth. As all followers of Mineola sports know, the Yellowjackets would fight to the final horn, and they did. But it was not their day.
Despite coming up short in the tournament final game, the Yellowjackets had a successful overall tourney. In six games played over a three-day span, they chalked up five victories, including wins against 5A Marshall and 4A Carthage.