Jasper proved it can play with the best of the best on the basketball court this season — see Tuesday’s win over defending state champion Wenonah.
Now the Vikings look to continue their season as they head to the Northwest Regional Tournament at Wallace State Hanceville. Jasper faces No. 6 Lawrence County in their Class 5A game at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Jasper is coming off a thrilling 58-55 win over Wenonah at Carl Cannon Coliseum. The Vikings came up with a bevy of clutch shots in the final quarter against the Dragons, culminating with Brent Geeter’s game-winning 3-pointer from the wing with 11 seconds remaining. Coach Robert Epps’ Vikings converted three 3-point plays in the final period and were 8 of 9 from the free-throw line.
Jasper (19-12) is in the AHSAA’s version of the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2011.
Former coach Scotty Ware took the Vikings to Wallace State four consecutive years (2008-11). The Vikings ran into the No. 1 team two of the four years. Walker lost to No. 4 Muscle Shoals in 2008 (54-49), Lee-Huntsville in 2009 (50-34), No. 1 Butler in 2010 (60-36) and No. 1 Lee-Huntsville in 2011 (75-35).
While Jasper is ending a nine-year regional drought, Lawrence County is also ending a hiatus of its own. The Red Devils last made the regional tournament in 2007. Lawrence County advanced to the regional final that season, losing to eventual Class 4A state champion Madison County.
Lawrence County (27-4) has two common opponents with Jasper this season. Both teams played both Hamilton and West Point. The Red Devils and Vikings each split a pair of games with Hamilton. Lawrence County was a perfect 3-0 against West Point while Jasper split a pair of games.
The Red Devils advanced to the regional tournament with a 57-49 win over Madison Academy.