Yellow Jackets Have No Problem With Hornets in District Championship
Sat. February 09, 2013 at 3:00 a.m. | By Aimee Sachs
Bartow's Christopher Perry goes up for a basket as Haines City's Osney Vital tries to defend during the first half of the Class 7A, District 7 championship at George Jenkins High School. (Photo by MICHAEL WILSON | THE LEDGER)
By AIMEE SACHS
LAKELAND | When you have multiple players who are over 6 feet 6, it makes a basketball coach's job easier.
Such was the case for Bartow coach Terrence McGriff Friday in the Yellow Jackets' 82-43 victory over Haines City in the Class 7A, District 7 championship game at George Jenkins.
"Coaching is overrated," McGriff said. "We have really good players, and today they did a great job."
Chris Perry led the Yellow Jackets with 15 points, Derrick Brooks scored 12 points, and Kerry Jones, Ricky Williams and Tony Bradley added 11 points apiece. Despite committing eight turnovers in the first half, the game was never in doubt for the Yellow Jackets.
"We hadn't been shooting the ball well, but tonight we shot it well," McGriff said. "We figured we would. We were due, and we were very good defensively."
Bartow used its size advantage to assert its dominance against a Haines City team that upset them 70-67 on Dec. 18.
Osney Vital led Haines City with 14 points and Jack Tisdale added 13 points for the Hornets, who will hit the road to play in the Class 7A regional quarterfinals against East Bay.
"I just think we were a little overwhelmed tonight," Haines City coach Greg Pritchett said. "It's always challenging when they got a 6-foot-8, and 6-foot-6 guy and your biggest player is 6 feet 3."
The Yellow Jackets extended their lead to 51-30 at the 5:45 mark in the third quarter following consecutive 3-pointers by Jones. The crowd erupted on Perry's explosive dunk with 4:24 left in the fourth quarter, which made it a 70-38 game.
Bartow hasn't made it this far since its state championship run in 2010. McGriff hopes to recapture the magic with this squad, but said they're going to take it one game at a time.
"The key to making a run to the state finals is all about good defense, offensive rebounding and distributing the ball," McGriff said. "Those little things make a big difference.
"It's not the big things. It's not the dunks, it's the little things. Keep trusting one another."
Bartow hosts Brandon in the Class 7A regional quarterfinals at 7 on Thursday night.
"It'll be crazy in Bartow," McGriff said.
HAINES CITY (43): Osney Vital 14, Jack Tisdale 13,Akeem Martinez, D.J. Law, Dontae Parker 3, Keyshawn Lynch 2. Totals 12 17-23 43
BARTOW (82): Chris Perry 15, Derrick Brooks 12, Kerry Jones 11, Ricky Williams 11, Tony Bradley 11, RoyQuies Graham 8, Vontarius West 8, Karlos Odum 6. Totals 31 9-15 82.
Haines City 10 16 10 7 — 43
Bartow 20 21 22 19 — 82
Records: Bartow 24-3, Haines City 15-13.