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Raymond squads upend Vicksburg in blowouts

Mike Coleman’s nostalgia tour ended Friday night with a loss to his most recent team, Raymond High, 63-42.

But the game was a lot closer than that.

“I think if they were ranking just the starting five in Mississippi, Raymond would probably be number one,” the second-year Vicksburg coach said. “There are teams in the state that have a better 10, but Raymond has the best starting five.”

Coleman led his team to a win over Hinds AHS (formerly Utica High) on Tuesday. He coached at Utica for several years before the school closed, then moved on to Raymond for five years before taking over at Vicksburg in 1999. Raymond (4-0) won the Class 4A state championship last season.

“This is about the proudest I’ve been of our team,” Coleman said. “… If we hit a few easy shots in the first half, we may have been up six or seven going into halftime.”

LaToya Trunell led the Missy Gators with 16 points 14 in the first half to lead an inspired VHS squad. Shalonda Williams added 13.

Shay Freeman scored 16 to lead four Lady Rangers in double figures. Candace Roberts scored 15, while Marquisa Mack netted 11 and LaQuinda Nicholls poured in 10.

The game was nip-and-tuck throughout the first half. Raymond held a slim 27-23 lead at halftime before upping the defensive pressure in the second half.

“Our man-to-man defense wasn’t working, so we had to switch to a zone,” said first-year Raymond coach Josette Barton, who played collegiately at Alcorn State. “They had a tougher time with our zone.”

Still, Raymond led just by nine, 43-34, going into the fourth quarter.

Freeman, a lightning-quick guard, scored 12 of her points in the second half and Roberts netted six in the fourth quarter as the Lady Rangers extended the lead by outscoring the hosts, 20-8, in the fourth quarter.

“If we play that good the rest of the year, we have a chance to win a lot of ballgames,” Coleman said.

The Missy Gators will host Northwest Rankin on Tuesday at 6 p.m. before the Thanksgiving break.

(B) Raymond 75, VHS 64

The Gators (4-3) put up little resistance after the first two minutes to a small, but oh-so-quick Rangers (4-1) squad in a non-division matchup.

Vicksburg opened an early 8-2 lead, then watched as Raymond, which rotated 12 players in and out of the game, took a 20-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Rangers extended the lead to 40-19 at halftime thanks in part to a 12-2 run to open the quarter.

Ernest Frazier and Tommie Hunter each scored 16 to lead for Rangers in double figures. Courtney Bradley and former Warren Central player Nick Thompson scored 13.

“We’re not closing out games well,” said Raymond coach Ronald Hines, whose only loss was a 92-90 setback to Hinds AHS. “We had them down by 20 at halftime and end up only winning by 15 and that’s not good.”

Raymond extended the lead to 23 during the third quarter, but the Gators, who were led by Demetrick Allen’s 18 and Miguel Henyard’s 15, outscored the Rangers 24-13 in the fourth quarter.