Missy Gators notch seventh win, Gators stumble

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 28, 2000

[12/28/00] BRANDON It’s not even January yet, but the Vicksburg Missy Gators are already exceeding expectations.

VHS (7-9) got a superb outing from its bench and key performances from two of its starters down the stretch to beat Terry in the first round of the Northwest Rankin tournament Wednesday afternoon and match its win total for all of last season.

“It feels pretty good because a lot of people were saying we weren’t going to win as many as we did last year. Of course, I don’t listen to what a lot of people say,” VHS coach Mike Coleman said.

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Katina Cooper led the Missy Gators with 16 points, Latoya Trunell had nine and Shayla White came off the bench to score 13. All told, the VHS reserves outscored their Terry counterparts 24-5.

“Shayla White and Katina Cooper both really stepped up big and hit some outside shots, and that’s what we needed to do against a zone,” Coleman said.

VHS starters Shalonda Williams and Rae Evans finished with just four points each, but they couldn’t have come at a better time.

With just over four minutes to play, Williams and Evans teamed up to score seven of 11 points on an 11-0 run that proved to be the difference in the game.

With the game tied 47-47, Williams hit a free throw to give VHS a one-point lead. Evans then hit a layup and Williams followed with another layup and a foul. She missed the free throw, but Evans grabbed the rebound and converted the putback to give VHS a 54-47 lead. Keisha Truly, who finished with seven points, added another layup moments later to make it 56-47.

Terry answered, however.

Terry’s Jamie Sanders, who finished with nine points, hit a three-pointer and came up with a steal and layup in the backcourt to cut it to 56-53 with a minute to play.

Williams fouled out on the ensuing inbounds pass, which was lobbed into a pack of players at midcourt, but Terry couldn’t take advantage.

The Lady Bulldogs had two chances to tie on 3-pointers in the final 15 seconds, but one came up short and another was partially blocked by VHS’ Brandi Hall with less than five seconds to play.

Trunell gathered in the airball, was fouled with one second left, and hit one free throw to seal the win.

(B) Madison 45, VHS 42

The last time the Gators met Madison Central, they beat the Jaguars by 30 points. This time they barely even scored 30.

VHS (9-7) shot just 35 percent from the field in the first-round game of the Northwest Rankin tournament, were held to just 18 points through three quarters and were an atrocious 2-for-16 from 3-point range in helping MC (4-10) break a seven-game losing streak .

“I don’t know if it was the layoff or not. We just didn’t come ready to play. I thought we beat this team by 30 points and the kids were just going to come in and lay down and let them win. But Madison Central did a good job of spreading out and slowing it down and we never did find the answer,” VHS coach Dellie Robinson said.

While the Gators struggled to find the mark from outside, the Jaguars had no such problems early on. Madison was 4-for-5 from 3-point range in the first half, and the shooting helped them build an eight-point halftime cushion that they never relinquished.

The Gators were able to cut the lead to five several times in the second half, but never got any closer until the final 20 seconds.

Jason Walker had 12 points and four steals for VHS and Willie Powers added 12 points off the bench.

Ouachita 53, WC 40

Kevin Coker and Justin Green each scored nine points, but Ouachita came away with the win in the first round of the West Monroe Tournament.

The Vikings (7-8) held the ball for the final 3 1/2 minutes of the third quarter to slow down Ouachita, which beat WC by more than 20 the first time the two teams met.