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VHS squads KO Clinton

LaToya Trunell of VHS goes in for a running jumper over Clinton’s Kris Smith in the second half Tuesday. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[01/10/01] Shalonda Williams’ 22 points turned out to be more than LaToya George’s 36.

Williams was beaten physically, but she came up big in the second half to help Vicksburg High stun Clinton, 59-50, on Tuesday night.

“That was a big one,” said VHS coach Mike Coleman, whose squad was beaten by the Lady Arrows (14-6) by 26 just 10 days ago. “We played about as close to a perfect second half as I’ve seen us play.”

Williams, who was having difficulty just walking after the game, fell hard on her knee, had a defender fall on her hip and got kicked in the face during a scuffle for a loose ball. But the sophomore guard kept coming up big, especially in the fourth quarter.

“We wanted to win on our home court,” said Williams, who hit the tying 3-pointer after faking George, then followed with a layup at the 2:15 mark of the third quarter to give the Missy Gators (10-11) the lead for good.

Williams scored 14 in the second half, including 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch, and six rebounds, four assists and three steals. LaToya Trunell had 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds and Rae Evans added nine points.

After scoring 23 in the first half, George failed to score again until late in the fourth quarter. She finished with six 3-pointers, two of which were from at least 25 feet.

“We knew what she could do,” Coleman said. “The others hurt us last time, so we decided to try to stop them.”

The Missy Gators did just that, holding the other four Clinton players to a total of 14 points.

“We started slow, then lost momentum,” Clinton coach Gary Miller said with a chuckle. “They did a good job defensively and they handled our press better than last time.

“We just didn’t make shots … We don’t have a post player, so if we’re not hitting from the perimeter, it hurts us,” added Miller, whose only other losses to Mississippi teams were against Murrah in overtime, Raymond and Brandon. Murrah and Raymond are the defending 5A and 4A state champions, respectively.

The Lady Arrows led 33-28 at the half.

Williams’ steal and putback at the end of the third quarter gave the Missy Gators a 43-37 lead going into the fourth. They went up by eight early, then went into a stall. After more than three scoreless minutes, Williams split two defenders for a layup and a 10-point lead. After that, Tricia Dart, Brandi Hall, Evans and Williams all got steals that turned into points as VHS pushed its lead to 16.

“We hit our free throws and we rebounded well in the last three quarters,” Coleman said. “Everybody did well. A 35-point turnaround … that’s not bad.”

(B) VHS 62, Clinton 60

Gerrick Durrell made two free throws with less than a minute to go and Demetrick Allen had 28 points and 10 rebounds as Vicksburg became just the fourth team to beat Clinton this season.

“The second half was the best we’ve played this year,” said VHS coach Dellie Robinson, whose team trailed by 11, 35-24, at the break and 45-41 going into the final period. “I told them at the half if they wanted respect, they had to go back out there and get it.”

Allen got a three-point play to pull the Gators (15-6) within a point and Jason Walker hit an off-balance floater from the baseline, then got a steal and dish to Patrick Igbokwe for a dunk to go up 50-47.

Walker finished with nine points, nine assists and three steals. But the point guard’s biggest contribution was at the free-throw line. He was 4-for-4 in the fourth and Allen was 5-of-7.

Durrell’s free shots were the biggest, though.

After Adrian Harper hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 60 with 51 seconds left, Robinson ran a play for Durrell. He drew a foul and calmly sank both baskets to give the Gators the lead.

Harper’s 3-point attempt just before the buzzer missed its mark this time. Allen grabbed the rebound and wrapped up the ball and the win, the Gators’ first over Clinton since 1997.

Jarekus Singleton finished with 21 points and Harper had 18.

“It was a very physical game,” said Clinton coach Joel Boone, whose only other losses are to Murrah, Bailey and Raymond. “They whipped us on the boards and with free throws, but we still had a chance.”