The Aliceville Yellow Jackets defeated the Sand Rock Wildcats 73-63 in the Class 2A AHSAA State Semifinals. The Yellow Jackets had three players in double figures, led by Tyquan Simon (18 points), Tyjarian Williams (17 points), and Jatavis Colvin (17 points). The Wildcats were led by Jacob St. Clair, who finished with 33 points and Kaden Justice who put up 24 points.

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The game was turning into an absolute shootout as both teams were moving quickly and hitting from deep. Aliceville had the upper hand in terms of an inside presence.

It was a back and forth affair due to Sand Rock's strong shooting. The Wildcats made five 3-pointers with four of which coming from Justice in the first half. Aliceville was able to hit five of its own, but the Yellow Jackets were settling for jump shots and not attacking the basket like they have done all season.

The game was tied at 32 at halftime. Justice and St Clair combined for 30 of Sand Rock's 32 points in the first half, indicating that they were the Wildcats' only options.  Aliceville was dominating the glass with 20 rebounds to Sand Rock's 12. The Yellow Jackets shot 44.4% from the field and 3-of-5 from the free-throw line. The Wildcats shot 41.7% from the floor and converted 7-of-9 for free-throw attempts.

The second half saw an improvement in Aliceville's defense, which decreased Sand Rock's shooting percentage from 50% in the third quarter to 38% in the fourth. The Wildcats shot 14% from distance after losing steam. Aliceville forced nine significant turnovers in the second half.

The Yellow Jackets made crucial shots as they went 30-of-41 to close out the game. Sand Rock began fouling late, resulting in a huge attempted margin. The Aliceville crowd came in full force as they were moving on to Friday's championship game

“We weathered the storm,” Aliceville head coach Chris Walker said. “It is fun to watch. It is kind of scary. It’s nerve-wracking because you don’t want the close ones but usually in those games we come together as a unit and we fight through. Whether one man is down, the next man steps up.”

Walker talked about what it would mean to bring Aliceville their first state championship.

“It’s history!” Walker said. “It’s being able to say that you are the first to do it so it’s a big deal. We emphasize it all year, we’ve been saying it’s championship or bust so we are here now.”

Aliceville will face the St. Luke's Wildcats on Friday, March 3 at 10:45 a.m. The Yellow Jackets are one win away from their first state championship.

Aliceville Final Four

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