Vicksburg rolls into title game

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 29, 2000

[12/29/00] BRANDON Mike Coleman’s 250th win was special, but his 251st could taste even sweeter.

Coleman’s Vicksburg Missy Gators used a suffocating defensive effort on Northwest Rankin’s best player and took advantage of 28 Lady Cougar turnovers en route to a 55-36 win in the semifinals of the Northwest Rankin Classic.

The toughest test for the young Missy Gators (8-9), who have already surpassed last year’s win total, will be today when they face high-flying LaToya George and Clinton for the tournament title. It will be the first time Vicksburg has played in a championship game in Coleman’s two seasons.

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“We have to do something, but I don’t know what,” said Coleman about George, who scored 32 in the Lady Arrows’ semifinal win over Madison Central. “We might put all five on her. That might be what it takes to stop her.”

A defensive effort like the one against Northwest’s Stephanie Boggans would certainly help.

After scoring nine first-quarter points, the standout sophomore was held scoreless in the final three quarters. Shayla White, Kamekia Linzy and Katina Cooper all took turns guarding Boggans when the Missy Gators switched to a diamond-and-one defense. The defense is designed to play man-to-man on one player and zone the other four.

“I knew if I played good defense she would get frustrated,” White said. “She didn’t get many points after I got on her.”

LaToya Trunell paced Vicksburg with 14 points, 10 rebounds and four steals, while Shalonda Williams poured in 11 points. Keisha Truly scored nine off the bench. In all, 11 of 13 Missy Gators scored.

Jennifer Johnson scored a team-high 11 in the loss, which saw the Lady Cougars shoot just 30 percent from the field.

Williams’ 3-pointer at the buzzer gave Vicksburg a 31-19 lead at the half. Northwest scored six points in the second quarter and three in the third.

Vicksburg built a 49-22 early in the fourth quarter before emptying the bench.