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The Vinton County Vikings (21-4) secured a trip to the Sweet Sixteen on Friday evening defeating the Fairfield Union Falcons (21-5) 53-46.
Junior Derrick Jones was clutch for the Vikings down the stretch. Jones hit the go-ahead bucket for the Vikings at the two-minute mark of the fourth quarter. In the remaining two minutes Jones would go on to score six crucial points for the Vikings.
“It feels good, but I give the credit to my guys,” Jones said. “I mean they put me in a position where I could do that.”
“I’m blessed to have a few guys that can play,” head coach Matt Combs said. “You hope that one of them is on and can at least give you a spark and Derick did that tonight.”
Junior Tristan Bartoe and senior Jordan Albright added free throws down the stretch to secure the district championship.
“You have fun for a minute like tonight after the game, but then you just get ready for the next one,” Combs added. “That’s the type of kids we have, there going to find a way to stick their nose in and compete.”
The game was not an easy test for the Vikings. Vinton County trailed or remained tied through the majority of the contest. Vinton County had its second lead of the evening with 6:26 remaining in the game. The first lead for the Vikings stretched back to the 5:58 mark of the first quarter.
Fairfield Union came out on fire in the early portion of the contest. Sophomore Lucas Thompson hit two early 3-pointers to give Falcon fans a reason to rock the Convocation Center.
Vinton County stayed in the game early due to their athleticism in the paint. The Vikings used their athleticism on the defensive side of the ball to force various turnovers due to charge calls.
“I know the competition is going to get stiffer and stiffer but I am not trading my kids for anybody and we are going to do the best we can and we are going to battle,” Combs noted.
The Vikings will return to the Convocation Center, Thursday, March 10 for a date with the winner of John Glenn and Indian Valley, to decide the regional semifinal.