Yellowjackets advance with win over Leonard

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The Mineola Yellowjackets produced one of their most consistent and error-free efforts of the year with a decisive 51-36 victory over the Leonard Tigers on Feb. 21 at Greenville Gymnasium. With the win Mineola advanced to the regional quarterfinals and faced the Trojans of Dallas Madison.

Leonard got on the board first with an offensive put-back in the opening moments. It was the only Leonard lead of the night. Yellowjacket wing Kelby Bruner tied the score on a nice baseline move.

The first quarter belonged to a hounding Mineola defense, which threw the Tigers off their game and frustrated them in the offensive zone. Yellowjacket senior Shaw Franklin led the defensive effort and was one step ahead of the Tigers offense all night.

Offensively, Mineola had a balanced attack on the night with Franklin, Bruner and Davion Sneed all in double figures. A Bruner jumper from a Jonah Fischer assist, a Davion Sneed basket on an assist from Bruner and a Kadavian George free throw put the Yellowjackets up 7-2 at the quarter break.

Mineola fans were excited to see Trevion Sneed back in action, the first minutes he has played since December. Sneed’s physicality and quickness immediately made an impact to the team. His significant minutes on the court against Leonard gave no hint of any residual complications from his knee injury. The Yellowjackets appeared as confident and relaxed as they have all season. Certainly having Trevion Sneed back on the court contributed to this winning attitude.

Leonard came out of the break and quickly tied the score, 9-9, with two inside baskets and a 3-pointer. Mineola answered by embarking on a 10-0 run in the final three minutes of the half. Three Franklin scores, a George bucket off an inbound play, and a beautiful reverse lay-in by Davion Sneed made the score 19-9. At intermission Mineola was up 21-11.

Mineola Head Coach Ryan Steadman had the Yellowjackets’ defense pushing out to the 3-point arc and beyond the whole first half. This increased pressure severed Leonard’s passing lanes and prevented them from getting the ball inside. It also forced 11 Tiger turnovers in the first half.

A determined Leonard squad closed the margin to six points half way through the third quarter. After a time-out to settle the play, Mineola rattled off nine straight points to extend the lead. Trevion Sneed hit a mid-range jumper and a 3-pointer during this sequence. After two quick Tiger scores the game was 32-22 at the end of three quarters.

The fourth-quarter action started with Franklin scoring from 3-point range and successive blocked shots by Davion Sneed and George. Franklin then scored on a great move in the lane, and Trevion Sneed scored from a Franklin assist to open a 17 point lead.

Each team scored 12 points in the final four minutes of play. A beautiful Davion Sneed basket off a structured inbound play highlighted Mineola’s performance on the night. The Yellowjackets executed in all aspects of the game, and they did so with a positive energy. It was one of their best efforts of the year, and a great launch into the regional quarterfinals.

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