Mineola ekes out win over Winnsboro

Posted 2/2/22

The Mineola Yellowjackets held off a late charge from the visiting Winnsboro Red Raiders to secure a 62-60 win last Tuesday. The win avenged the only loss on the Jackets’ 6-1 district …

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Mineola ekes out win over Winnsboro

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The Mineola Yellowjackets held off a late charge from the visiting Winnsboro Red Raiders to secure a 62-60 win last Tuesday. The win avenged the only loss on the Jackets’ 6-1 district record.

The key play was an inside assist from Yellowjacket post Dawson Pendergrass to winger Braydon Alley with :27 on the clock. That assist, delivered through a crowded lane, gave Mineola a four-point edge and enough to hold off a surging Winnsboro squad.

The final seconds were yet action-packed, as Pendergrass closed a shooter to block a 12-foot jump shot on the next passage of play. T.J. Moreland then sank a free throw to make the margin five points. The Red Raiders hit a 3-pointer as time expired to make the final score Mineola 62, Winnsboro 60.

At times, the game appeared to be on the verge of becoming a runaway win for Mineola. In the first quarter the Jackets built a 13-point lead. In the second quarter the lead ballooned to 17-points and in third quarter another 17-point lead. 

Winnsboro used two runs – a nine-point run midway through the second quarter and an eight-point run late in the final quarter – to remain within striking distance of the Jackets.

From the outset, the Yellowjackets had forged control of the game. Moreland generated offense at a torrid pace in the first quarter, scoring 12 of his 28 points. Mineola dominated the early rebounding battle largely through the presence of Pendergrass and Alley. The Jackets ran out to a 22-9 lead after one quarter of play.

Midway through the second quarter, Winnsboro applied a half-court press and began to claw back into the game. The score tightened, and the first Winnsboro run closed the Mineola lead to eight points as the halftime break loomed. 

The difference in play late in that period was the Jackets seemed to disappear off the defensive boards.   

Two scores by Moreland, on excellent assists from Alley, sent the teams to the break with Mineola up by 12. That second assist from Alley was a highlight reel play. Alley made the pass to Moreland up and over the lane. No one on the court expected that the pass could be made; it was spectacular.

Mineola came out strong in the third quarter. Zay Lipscomb fueled the Jacket offense in the quarter, while Stephen Ogueri imposed his will on the inside. Lipscomb made an exquisite cross-court pass to Moreland for a score as the quarter drew to a close. Going into the final quarter, Mineola led 53-41.

In three quick possessions Winnsboro hit two 3-pointers and a short jumper to close the margin to four points with 3:13 to play. A score by Lipscomb after a return pass from Pendergrass stopped the bleeding for Mineola. 

The teams traded scores until the key assists which preserved the win for Mineola. Of note, Ogueri pulled down a critical defensive rebound with 2:51 on the clock.  

The inability of the Yellowjackets to step on the throat of the Red Raiders appeared to coincide with two specific events: brief stretches wherein the Jackets lost control of the defensive boards and a weakness in the fourth quarter of cutting off strong first steps toward the basket down the right side of the lane.  

However, Mineola persevered against a good basketball team. The Jackets are beginning to hit their stride, as they began the second round of district play with a win. The Jackets host Harmony on Friday and travel to Chapel Hill Tuesday for a game that could decide the district title.