Missy Gators’ 3s bury Port Gibson

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 3, 2001

James Hall (23) of Port Gibson draws a foul on VHS’ Jason Walker, left, as Dewayne Jackson (33) defends. (The Vicksburg Post/MARK THORNTON)

PORT GIBSON Port Gibson’s defense was in a zone.

Thankfully for Vicksburg High, so were the Missy Gator shooters.

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VHS hit eight 3-pointers, the biggest by Katina Cooper with less than two minutes to go, in a 54-49 win.

After the Lady Waves (8-13) narrowed a 10-point deficit to two, Cooper was left open in the corner while the defense focused on Shalonda Williams. She didn’t hesitate when the ball came her way. Cooper nailed her only 3-point attempt of the second half to end the Lady Waves’ threat and pull the Missy Gators (9-10) within a win of .500.

“I guess I saved the best for last,” said Cooper, who finished with 12 points.

She doesn’t mind that most teams concentrate on Williams. In fact, she likes it.

“That opens things up for me,” said Cooper, who hit a pair of 3s and finished with nine points in the first half.

Williams gave Port Gibson reason to tighten up on her, hitting four 3s in the first half and finishing with a team-best 18 points. LaToya Trunell added 10 points, six rebounds and three steals.

Reandrea Jackson led the Lady Waves with a game-high 27 and Catronda Thornton chipped in 10.

VHS led 36-26 at the half and, after going up by as much as 15, took a 47-37 advantage into the fourth quarter.

Thornton hit an off-balance shot from the side then knocked down a layup as Port Gibson pulled within two, 51-49. But Cooper’s 3 at 1:45 seemed to take the wind out of the Lady Waves’ sails.

“That was a big one,” VHS coach Mike Coleman said. “She was wide open.”

Coleman said he didn’t come in expecting to shoot so many 3s, but as long as the defense “is in a zone, they can let it fly if they’re open,” he said.

Trailing by five, the Lady Waves simply allowed the Missy Gators to dribble out the clock.

“We ran the four corners perfect,” he said, adding, “I couldn’t believe we didn’t have to shoot at least a couple of free throws.”

Port Gibson coach Lonnie Walker said he was telling his players to foul.

“They’re still young,” he said, adding that two of his players were out with the flu. “We just ran out of gas.”

Walker said he was surprised by the Missy Gators’ 3-point shooting.

“We didn’t expect that,” he said. “They got hot.”

Still, he was encouraged by his 3A team’s performance against a 5A squad.

“The program has made a turn,” he said, noting that this season’s squad has already passed last season’s win total. “We’re on the right track. Last year, we would have lost by 50.”

(B) VHS 52, Port Gibson 39

Demetrick Allen was toughest when his team needed him most. The Gators’ center scored seven of his game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter to thwart a comeback at Port Gibson.

Willie Powers and Gerrick Durrell added 11 and eight, respectively, in the post to make up for an off night for VHS’ guards. The three combined for four fourth-quarter dunks.

“The back door was open,” VHS coach Dellie Robinson said.

So the Gators (13-6) went through it time after time after the Blue Waves (11-10) pulled within four early in the fourth quarter after trailing by double digits much of the second half.

“We were working on getting it inside to Demetrick,” Robinson said. “I was a little surprised it kept being there for us.”

Robinson was called for a technical foul early in the period.

“I was trying to get my guys fired up,” he said. “They were just standing there.”

It worked. The Gators closed with a 15-7 run.

“We had to match their intensity,” Allen said. “We aren’t allowed to get (techs) so we have to play for coach when he does.”

Allen was on the other end of a fourth-quarter tech on Port Gibson’s Jemerio Gaines.

“He slapped me in my chest, then threw the ball in my face,” said Allen, who just smiled at Gaines after the incident. “It doesn’t bother me. Sometimes I think I’m in the wrong sport I should have played football.”

James Hall led Port Gibson with 14 points and Charles Norrell added 11.

“They have a good, strong, physical team,” Port Gibson coach Kim Windom said of VHS. “We lost track of what we were doing. They clogged the middle and stopped us from doing what we wanted to do.”