Vandegrift cruises past Reagan, plays Jefferson next


Savannah Held

Point guard Drayton Whiteside dribbles the ball down the court against Reagan High School Feb. 23. The Vipers defeated Reagan 69-45.

Carson Field, Sports Editor

The Vandegrift basketball team defeated Reagan on Tuesday 69-45 in the first round of the UIL 5A State Playoffs.

Drayton Whiteside led the team with 22 points, and Alex Fernandes and Ryan Boles followed behind with 12 and 10 each.

With the game getting lopsided in the early second half, the backups got significant minutes. Noticeable bench contributions came from players such as Clay Austin, Josh Rinn and Kyle Walsh.

“The bench started the game by encouraging the starters and creating energy,” senior guard Josh Rinn said. “In the second half, the bench players expanded the lead and sealed the victory.”

The Viper Pit played a large role in the game, as they were torturous to the opposing players with their energy and creative chants.

“The Viper Pit was great,” Whiteside said. “The crowd created a great environment to play in and we were able to feed off of that energy.”

While it was an eight-point game at halftime, the Vipers pulled away in the second half to ultimately win by 24 points.

The Vipers’ next test is Jefferson, who was the District 28-5A Champion.

“To beat Jefferson, we must play great team basketball,” Vandegrift coach Cliff Ellis said. “We have done well lately shooting the basketball, playing good defense and getting good minutes off the bench has helped us. We just have to keep doing what we do best.”

This is only the program’s second playoff win, but the second in the last two years. Last year, the Vipers fell short in the second round of the playoffs last year, but the Vipers will be looking to make the third round of the playoffs for the first time in program history.

Vandegrift plays Jefferson on Friday at 7:30 at Hays High School. Both teams had solid records this season, as Vandegrift is 22-11 on the year, and Jefferson is 23-8 on the year. Jefferson is a tough opponent, but Vandegrift has a good chance of winning this game if their offense shows up and they show enough poise to win.