Missy Gators hang on at Hinds AHS

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 15, 2000

UTICA The Vicksburg Missy Gators helped make Mike Coleman’s return to Utica a happy one.

Coleman, who coached at now-defunct Utica High from 1986 to 1993, saw his VHS squad shoot 49 percent from the field and hold off a late charge by Hinds AHS (1-3) to preserve a 50-46 win.

Shalonda Williams led VHS (2-5) with 15 points, including the Missy Gators’ final four, and five assists. Keisha Truly added 10 points and seven rebounds and Latoya Trunell had eight, all in the second half.

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Amber Watts paced Hinds (1-3) with 18 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Deidra Wilcher added 10 points.

“Driving over here today, it brought back a lot of memories from when I coached at Utica,” Coleman said. “And it makes it even sweeter getting the win.”

Hinds AHS coach Bruce Baker politely disagreed.

“It was nice to have a meeting, but I wish we could have gotten a win,” he said with a laugh.

Baker’s Lady Bulldogs nearly granted his wish.

VHS used an 11-4 run over the last three minutes of the third quarter and the first 11/2 minutes of the fourth to open a 42-30 lead. Hinds AHS stormed back, outscoring VHS 10-2 over the next 41/2 minutes to cut it to 44-40, and a 3-pointer by Wilcher with about 40 seconds to play made it 46-43.

“We panicked,” Coleman said. “I think we were in a position we’re not used to being in, and we just didn’t respond too well to it.”

Shalonda Williams hit the front end of a one-and-one with 25.1 seconds left to extend the lead to 47-43, but Hinds’ Nikki Bradley hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left to make it 47-46. Hinds then had a chance to get the ball back when VHS’ inbounds pass went long, but Kamekia Linzy tracked it down and tied up with a Hinds defender with 1.3 seconds left.

The possession arrow favored the Missy Gators, and Williams hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

“I think in the fourth quarter, we rattled them some, but just not enough to get over the hump,” Baker said. “I think we may have surprised them when we started trapping. But (Coleman) adjusted at the end and made the plays ….”

(B) Hinds AHS 68, VHS 62

Hinds AHS had a high-flying start and left the gym flying high with a win over the Gators.

The Bulldogs scored their first three baskets on dunks and countered a strong third quarter by VHS with a strong fourth quarter to rally for the victory.

Larry Taylor scored 18 of his game-high 24 points in the second half and also grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Hinds AHS (4-0), which advanced to the Class 2A title game last season. Lawrence Noel added 11 points and Gabriel Walton and Samuel Richardson each added 10 for the Bulldogs.

“I thought (Taylor) was the difference down the stretch,” VHS coach Dellie Robinson said. “We didn’t have an answer for him.”

Demetrick Allen had 10 points and seven rebounds and Gerrick Durrell scored 12 of his team-high 18 points in the second half for VHS (4-3), including six as part of a Vicksburg surge in the third quarter.

The Gators trailed by three at halftime, but Jason Walker who finished with 14 points and five assists hit a 3-pointer to start the half and VHS surged to a five-point lead midway through the quarter.

The Gators were 8-for-9 from the field in the quarter and appeared ready to take the lead into the fourth, but Noel hit a half-court shot at the third-quarter buzzer to give Hinds a 47-46 lead.

The shot seemed to rob the Gators’ momentum, as they shot just 25 percent in the fourth quarter. Hinds, meanwhile, shot 54 percent and outrebounded VHS 9-3 in the final quarter.

Late 3-pointers by Durrell and Eugene Henyard, who finished with 14 points, helped cut into the lead, but it wasn’t enough for the Gators.

“We knew Hinds was going to come out trying to beat us and we had to match it,” Robinson said. “But in the fourth quarter, I thought their intensity was better than ours.”