Vine’s crown comes with a Cherry on top

By Steve Williams

With the outcome still up for grabs, Vine’s Condis Cherry missed two key free throws in the final period of the TMSAA Class AA Area 3 finals against Holston last week.

Cherry, however, redeemed himself moments later when he scored on a reverse layup and Holston’s 6-6, 225-pound Jayden Dubose picked up his fifth foul. It was the Play of the Game.

The old fashion 3-point play gave the Golden Bears a five point lead with 1:56 left and Vine went on to prevail 44-39 to take the title.

Cherry finished with a game-high 22 points.

“I love that kid,” said Coach Jadarius Suber outside a happy locker room. “I’ve been with him since he was 12 years old. He’s special. The sky is the limit for him.”

Incidentally, Shane Cherry, who has been a standout on Austin-East’s high school team this season, is Condis’ “big brother,” said Coach Suber. “Good genes.”

Antonio Stewart added 12 points to the Vine total.

Holston got 13 points from Mason Laster, 12 from Nick Steen and 10 from Dubose, who by the way wears a size 16 shoe.

“The key tonight was just who wanted it more, who wanted to be grittier, who was hungry,” said Coach Suber. “We were hungrier coming in at halftime. We were down four (20-16).

“I told them, ‘We got 12 minutes to go. It’s whatever you all want to do. It’s 12 minutes. Leave it all out on the court.’”

The two teams swapped mini runs in the third period and Holston led by two (31-29) going into the fourth.

After Cherry’s big play in the final period put Vine in front by five, he added two more free throws with 50 seconds left to make it a seven-point command (41-34).

“Vine is a great coached team,” said Holston Coach Tony Cooper outside of his team’s locker room. “It was a great atmosphere. Both teams know each other very well and are very competitive. It’s just sometimes the ball don’t bounce your way. Hat’s off to Vine and their program.”

But Cooper added: “My team wants another shot at them before this year is over.”

It’s possible that could happen in Cleveland, where the Class AA Section 1 tournament was scheduled to begin this past Saturday and continue this week.

“We ain’t finished yet,” said Suber, who is in his second season as head coach at Vine. “We’re still going. We’re still hungry. We’re trying to prove that we are the best team in the state of Tennessee.”