Lady Vikes win title in OT

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 3, 2000

Kim Smith of Warren Central passes the ball by a Provine defender. (The Vicksburg Post/PAT SHANNAHAN)

Warren Central survived a case of deja vu to end a string of repeat performances.

JaQuita Benard’s putback basket with 35 seconds left in overtime gave WC the lead and a layup by Provine’s Tonya Thomas on the same play that sent the game into overtime rimmed out with under 2 seconds to play, giving the Lady Vikes a 61-59 win in the Coca-Cola Classic title game.

Benard finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, while Lia Green added 13 points and eight rebounds before fouling out in overtime. Wanda Calvin and Lameka Miller each had eight points and seven rebounds.

Tosha Christmas led Provine with 15 points, while Victoria Anderson added 13 points 12 of them on four 3-pointers and Keisha Carter added 12.

“I was scared to death that dad-gummed shot they took was going in,” said WC coach Donny Fuller, whose teams have finished second several times in the tournament. “I got tired of those second-place trophies. It was nice to take home the championship.”

WC erased a five-point halftime deficit with a 16-2 run in the third quarter. Provine’s foul trouble two starters fouled out in the third and two others were playing with three or four fouls helped keep the lead between five and 10 until a late charge got the Lady Rams (3-1) back in it.

After two free throws by Debraka Smith gave WC a 48-43 lead with 39 seconds left in regulation, Thomas came up with two steals and hit a layup with 15 seconds left to cut it to 48-47.

Calvin then hit one out of two free throws to make it 49-47 with 8.6 seconds left, but Thomas drove the baseline and hit an 8-foot floater that bounced off the rim twice before dropping in.

“We got a little complacent offensively. We wanted to eat the clock, but we quit trying to score,” Fuller said.

Provine surged in front with three quick baskets to start the extra period, but WC battled back to within a basket midway through. Finally, trailing 59-58 with under a minute to play, Benard gobbled up a miss by Kim Smith and put it back to give the Lady Vikes a 60-59 edge with 35 seconds left.

WC’s Wendy Thomas split a pair of free throws with 7 seconds remaining before Provine’s Thomas drove the baseline again. This time, the shot bounced out and WC’s Lameka Miller grabbed the rebound.

“She can’t hit every shot, but I’m glad we pulled it off,” Benard said.

The Lady Vikes (3-1) trailed 24-19 at halftime, but started the second half with a 16-2 run to take a 37-31 lead after three quarters. WC used a number of inside baskets and putbacks to spark the run. The Lady Vikes were 8-for-14 from the field and outrebounded Provine 12-3 in the quarter.

Kim Smith’s putback of her own missed layup with 4:08 left in the third gave WC the lead, 27-26, and it didn’t trail again until overtime.

“Our bench came in and stepped up, so we don’t have anything to be ashamed of,” Provine coach Barbara Hartzog said.

Fuller, meanwhile, said he was ready to celebrate the win.

“The good thing is, we’ve got a little break where we can enjoy it. These kids deserve to enjoy a win like this,” he said.

MC 41, VHS 26

Vicksburg High held Madison Central in check for a half, then MC’s Tanelda McDonald had a ball.

McDonald scored 12 of her game-high 18 points in the second half and also finished with nine rebounds and three steals as Madison pulled away from the Missy Gators to win the Coca-Cola Tournament’s consolation game.

“I thought our defense was real good, but we’ve got to learn to get more focused before a ballgame instead of waiting until the game starts,” VHS coach Mike Coleman said.

Both teams shot 33 percent from the field in the first half, but Madison used a 14-4 run over the final six minutes of the second quarter to take a 20-15 lead at the break.

Then McDonald went to work. She was shackled by double- and triple-teams in the first half, but scored all nine MC points in the third quarter. The Lady Jags then used a 10-0 run over the first six minutes of the fourth to put it away.

“She gave us a spurt and the boost that we needed,” MC coach Shay Jackson said of McDonald.

Shalonda Williams led VHS with nine points and Rae Evans grabbed nine rebounds, but the Missy Gators were hampered by poor shooting all night. VHS shot just 29 percent from the field in the game and was 1-for-5 in the fourth.