Lions learn from loss, Springfield ends upstart Vinton’s season

Rodrick Anderson

VINTON —No. 27 Vinton erased a double-digit deficit and almost pulled off another stunner in the Class 2A regional round, but No. 11 Springfield held on to win 50-48 Tuesday night.

Vinton (9-12) trailed by 13 in the third quarter.

“I think that we just came together,” Vinton head coach Phillip Ebarb said. “These girls don’t quit.

“We had some shots that were not falling early and I think it kind of zapped their confidence some. Once we started to get the ball inside, we started playing better defense and getting on the boards better. We pulled ourselves back in it and gave ourselves a chance to win.”

Vinton was playing in the regional round for the first time in more than 40 years.

“There is nothing to take from this except good,” Ebarb said. “I am excited for the girls and I think they did a fantastic job. We started a tradition and started winning. These girls wanted to win.

“Before, they didn’t have pain when they lost. These girls are crying their eyes out. They are family now, and I couldn’t be more proud. They fought tooth and nail.”

Springfield (17-6) will play at No. 3 Lake Arthur (28-4) in the quarterfinals.

Vinton junior Mackenzie Joseph was a major force at both ends of the court, recording a triple-double with 26 points, 20 rebounds and 10 blocks.

“She is the best player in the state of Louisiana,” Ebarb declared boldly. “I challenge anybody to argue that. They are going to contend with her next year, and they are going to contend with this team.”

Joseph scored 13 points in the fourth quarter, including six consecutive to cut Springfield’s lead to 49-46 after a pair of free throws with 49 seconds left.

With 25 seconds left, Maury Jasper grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked the ball out to Karmen LeMaire, who hit a jumper to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 50-48.

Vinton had three opportunities to take the lead in the final 10 seconds.

The Lions struggled with foul trouble most of the fourth quarter with three starters fouling out.

Vinton came out strong, leading most of the first quarter and the early part of the second quarter. The Lions took their largest lead, 14-9, with 6:54 left in the second quarter when Joseph banked in a short jump shot. But the Lions turned the ball over seven times in the final 6 minutes of the first half and shot 0-for-10.

Tessa Jones led Springfield with 11 points.

Springfield 50

Vinton 48

Springfield (17-9): Tessa Jones 11. Vinton (9-12): Mackenzie Joseph 26.The Lions’ Neli Molina collides with a pair of Springfield players in the lane during a Class 2A regional playoff game Tuesday night in Vinton.

Rodrick Anderson/American PressThe Lions’ Mackenzie Joseph makes contact with Springfield’s Destiny Reed in the lane during a Class 2A regional playoff game Tuesday night in Vinton. Joseph scored 26 points.

Rodrick Anderson/American Press

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