By Mike Myers
Vincennes Lincoln used a dominant defensive effort to win its second consecutive Sectional 31 title in a 48-25 win over Jasper at the Hatchet House on Saturday.
Vincennes (18-6) held the Wildcats to just 28 percent (11-40) shooting in the championship game and limited Jasper (13-10) to less than half of its season scoring average of 51 ppg.
Both teams were anemic on the offensive end in the first half, which saw the Alices 6-5 after one quarter and 13-12 at halftime. But the Alices, who hit 6-9 from behind the 3-point line, pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring Jasper 14-6 to take a 27-18 lead into the fourth quarter.
But it was the defensive effort throughout the game and sectional that helped bring Vincennes coach Jeff Hein success at the Hatchet House for a second straight season.
“We’ve played well here again this year,” said Hein, who also coached Evansville Bosse to a regional crown at the Hatchet House in 2007. “That’s two years in a row we’ve played well here
“After graduation seven kids from last year’s team, we’ve done a lot of work on the defensive end throughout the year in practice,” said Hein. “Our kids have bought into it, we’ve found the guys who can get it done on that end of the floor. We’ve won games with our defense this year that I didn’t expect to win.”
Brandt Nowaskie hit a pair of 3-pointers during the third quarter for the Alices and Cole Claycomb hit another trey for Vincennes in the period. Claycomb would finish with 17 points to lead all scorers, while Nowaskie and Devin Lett added nine points apiece. Josh Sprinkle netted 11 points for the Alices.
In addition to its defensive effort, the Alices held a 31-16 edge off the glass and limited the Wildcats to just two offensive rebounds.
Nate Messier led Jasper with 16 points. Mark Giesler, who scored 19 points for the Wildcats in Friday’s semifinal win over Mitchell, was held scoreless by the Alices. Messier was the only Jasper player to reach double figures.
“We you’re not scoring it’s difficult to win, obviously. You have to give Vincennes credit for that. They had a nice defensive plan, they kept the ball outside,” said Jasper coach John Goebel. “Our strength offensively this year has been scoring inside, we weren’t able to do that.”
Vincennes will play No. 4 Brownstown Central (22-1) in Saturday’s second semifinal of the Washington Regional at noon. Fifth-ranked Evansville Bosse (18-5) will face No. 2 Greensburg (21-1) in the first semifinal at 10:30 a.m.