As high school basketball tournament season approaches, the Area-5 tournament will be held at Aliceville after the Yellow Jackets defeated the Francis Marion Rams 63-46. Two Yellow Jackets scored in double figures, including Tyquan Simon, a junior, who finished with a game-high 26 points, and Jatavis Colvin, a senior, who scored 18 points. Senior Jarius Smith led the Rams with 17 points, while Chris King added 14 points.

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Aliceville dominated Marion early in the game because of its tremendous amount of talented players and use of a full-court zone defense. That defense helped the Yellow Jackets to force several mistakes and capitalize on fastbreak opportunities, allowing them to fully exploit their athleticism.

"We always like to say that once we get five players playing on one accord, we're that much tougher," Walker said of his team’s success in the game.

Aliceville had a lot of success freely going into the paint. The Yellow Jackets had athletes everywhere, whether it was Simon, Colvin, or senior Tyjarian Williams posting up, and it was too much for the Rams to contain and stop them from getting in the paint and taking easy shots.

At one point, Francis Marion was able to cut the game to six points. Overall though, they struggled to finish at the rim and rebound against a much more athletic Aliceville team. Every time the Rams went on a run, the Yellow Jackets had an answer and extended their lead even further. When Aliceville led 30-17 in the third quarter, the Rams scored seven consecutive points to narrow the gap to six. Aliceville maintained their full-court zone defense, forcing turnovers and scoring on those opportunities.

The intensity the team displayed indicated that Aliceville was not going to lose this game. Simon and Colvin played as if no one on the opposing team could defend them. Simon would be the first to agree with that.

"They couldn't guard me at all," Simon said of Francis Marion's ability to defend him from getting to the rim.

"We just trusted in each other," stated Yellow Jacket head coach Chris Walker of his two players' performances. "I don't think it started that way, where the top guys who ended up with the most points were even the ones who started scoring. We have depth and when we trust each other, it's all uphill from there."

The Yellow Jackets believe they are peaking just in time as the regular season comes to a finish and tournament season is set to start. Walker feels that his team is still developing and that hosting the event at home is more preferable to traveling.

"We're still getting closer to that peak," Walker said of his team's progress. "At this point, I still don’t believe we’re playing our best to our highest potential, so as long as we continue to play together, we are going to play at a high standard."

"You don't have to worry about the fans' road trip," Walker says of hosting the area tournament. "It’s always key when you can play in front of your home fans."

Prior to the start of the tournament, Aliceville will play one more home game against Tuscaloosa Academy on Tuesday, January 31 at 7:30 p.m.

Aliceville vs Francis Marion

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