Hill tops Gators in final quarter

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 7, 2000

Miguel Henyard of Vicksburg High goes up for a finger-roll layup over Jim Hill’s Corey Davis. (The Vicksburg Post/PAT SHANNAHAN)

As a player, Fred Harris made the Vicksburg High gym his own playground.

As a coach, he did the same thing again on Monday.

The Harris-led Jim Hill Tigers (2-0 and ranked No. 4 by The Clarion-Ledger) used a suffocating defense and took advantage of several late Vicksburg (3-2) mistakes en route to a 61-52 win.

“Every time I come home, it always brings back those memories of 1980,” said Harris, who led the Gators to a 40-5 record and the overall state championship. “It’s always good to come home.”

Harris’ homecoming started unlike his 1980 team. Vicksburg controlled the pace and got the Tigers’ center 6-foot-8 Harold Martin into foul trouble.

But, with the Gators leading 35-30 midway through the third quarter, VHS point guard Jason Walker was whistled for his fourth foul. Hill immediately upped the defensive pressure.

“We tried to get the tempo up,” Harris said. “That’s the way our guys like to play. We weren’t playing very smart tonight, but it all worked out.”

The Tigers, who were led by Mario Jointer’s 16 points and Korey Moore’s 14, took the lead for the first time, 40-39, at the end of the third quarter.

“We have got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball and making free throws,” Vicksburg coach Dellie Robinson said. “That’s what happened to us against Natchez and again tonight. You have to take care of the basketball and execute down the stretch.”

Demetrick Allen led the Gators with 20 points and 11 rebounds and Miguel Henyard had 13 points, but Vicksburg shot just 8-for-19 from the free-throw line.

After Martin fouled out, Gerrick Durrell tied the game at 44 with a thunderous slam dunk, but Jointer came right back with a 3-pointer for a 47-44 lead with 3:35 left in the game.

The Gators got no closer as Hill outscored the hosts, 21-13, in the fourth quarter.

“This definitely was not easy,” Harris said. “… We came out kind of flat, but Vicksburg had a lot to do with that. They have a very good team.”

Henyard scored eight first-quarter points, including a pair of treys, as Vicksburg held a 13-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Gators went into halftime up 27-21.

“We missed our share of inside shots that we easily could have made,” Robinson said. “Down the stretch, we were unable to get the rebounds … It was like we went dazed their for a few minutes and the game was over.”

Vicksburg will host Provine Thursday night at 6.