Another tough one for Gators

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 26, 2001

[01/26/01] For the third time in the last four seasons, the Vicksburg Gators have drawn the toughest assignment on the boys’ side of Saturday’s Red Carpet Classic, but that’s just fine with VHS coach Dellie Robinson.

“It hasn’t always been that way. I remember Warren Central (girls) played Harrison Central a couple of years ago and they went on to win the state championship,” laughed Robinson, who will lead his team against Wingfield, which takes a 16-5 record into Saturday’s Division 4-4A showdown with No. 3 Lanier.

“But that’s all right, that’s fine with me … If we’re ever going to be one of the top teams in the state, you have to beat those teams.”

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VHS (16-8) lost to then-No. 13 Choctaw Central, 74-44, in the 1998 RCC and fell 66-38 to McCall, then ranked No. 1 in Louisiana Class 2A, last year.

Wingfield isn’t ranked, but the Falcons have raised some eyebrows with their best start since 1980.

Junior Edrick Montgomery (16 points, 12 rebounds per game), who is already being recruited by a half-dozen Division I schools, spearheads Wingfield’s strong transition-based attack.

Wingfield coach Herman Sanders was hopeful the run-and-gun style could counteract the Gators’ height advantage.

Only five players on VHS’ roster are under 6 feet tall.

“I hope we’ll be able to substitute that with our quickness and speed,” Sanders said. “We’re going to make them run the floor. We’ve just got to keep them off the boards.”

The Missy Gators (10-14), meanwhile, will also have a tough task against No. 13 Purvis (22-3). The Tornadoes are small, with no players over 5-8, but with Division I signees-to-be Ykeisha Gray (16 ppg, 8 rpg) and Shonda Parker (19 ppg, 9 rpg), height isn’t a factor.

“I think we work well as a team. We don’t have the individual players, but they’ve all got heart,” Purvis coach Wayne Fortenberry said.

VHS coach Mike Coleman said he hopes his squad turns in a better finish than last year’s RCC, when it was drubbed by Callaway.

“We’d like to make a better showing of it,” he said. “Last year we lost to Callaway by 28, and it’s not fun walking out there to get a trophy when you lose by 28.”