Missy Gators stun WC in VHS sweep
Published 12:00 am Monday, February 5, 2001
The Missy Gators’ bench erupts after VHS seals the victory. (The Vicksburg Post/PAT SHANNAHAN)
[02/05/01] Being overmatched and outsized wasn’t enough to stop Vicksburg High.
Warren Central’s Wendy Thomas and LaShanda Williams both missed jump shots as time expired, giving the Missy Gators (12-17, 1-5 Division 3-5A) a 36-35 win over their archrival in one of the most shocking upsets in school history Saturday afternoon at WC.
“This feels real good,” said Vicksburg’s LaToya Trunell, who scored eight. “They take us as a joke and we showed them we’re ready for them in the district tournament.”
Vicksburg will not meet WC again unless the two make the championship game of the Division 3-5A tournament in Greenville. The host team earned the top seed, while WC will be the No. 2 seed. The Lady Vikes (21-7, 3-2) could have almost assured themselves the top seed with a win.
“The bottom line is we came out and played with the intensity that (Vicksburg) did last night,” said Fuller, who watched the Missy Gators get blown out by Yazoo City Friday. “We were flat, our players were flat, our bench was flat and we just didn’t play with any intensity.
“We’re a good basketball team when we come ready to play, but when we don’t show up to play, we are not very good.”
Vicksburg, which was led by Shalonda Williams’ 10 points, held WC’s dominating inside game of Lia Green and JaQuita Benard to a combined 12 points. Wanda Calvin’s 13 paced WC.
“We did a good job on Quita and Lia inside, for the most part,” said Vicksburg coach Mike Coleman, who notched his first win against the Lady Vikes in his two seasons at VHS. “… You have to respect their guards, but I don’t want Quita and Lia beating me every time.”
The Missy Gators had a chance to salt the game away late in the fourth quarter after a foul was called against Benard away from the ball, followed immediately by a technical foul against the WC bench with 18 seconds left.
Vicksburg missed all three free-throw attempts, then WC fouled Shalonda Williams, who missed the front end of a one-and-one with 11 seconds left to play.
“I thought about calling a timeout as soon as we crossed (half-court), but I didn’t,” Fuller said of the final play. “If I had to do it again, I probably would have, but I was worried if we do, they’ll set their defense and really concentrate on Quita and Lia.”
Thomas missed an 18-footer, but LaShanda Williams scooped up the loose ball and shot a rainbow 15-footer from the foul line that bounced off the back of the rim, setting off a wild VHS celebration.
“When Shanda let go of that last shot, I said, well, here we go again,’ ” Coleman said. “I thought it was in.”
Trunell gave Vicksburg its first lead of the game with four minutes to play, 33-31. Minutes later, LaShanda Williams hit her second 3-pointer with 1:57 left to give the Lady Vikes a 35-34 lead. Tricia Dart responded 22 seconds later for Vicksburg with a layup that proved to be the final margin.
“Let’s give Mike Coleman and the Missy Gators credit,” Fuller said. “They did a heckuva job getting ready for us. They were up for us and it was a big win for them.”
(B) VHS 65, WC 37
What was billed as a marquee matchup with playoff implications turned into a debacle.
Ex-Viking Miguel Henyard scored a game-high 16 points and Demetrick Allen netted 14 and grabbed nine rebounds as the Gators secured the top spot in the division tournament over their archrivals.
“They came out a lot harder than we expected them to,” Allen said of the Vikings’ quick 5-0 spurt in the opening minutes of the first quarter. “We had to calm down and do the basics of our offense.”
After the timeout, Vicksburg went on a 14-1 run as the Vikings (12-14, 2-3) did not hit a shot from the field for 8:34. A Kevin Coker 3-pointer with 5:59 to play in the second quarter ended the Vikings’ drought, but it wasn’t enough.
“That was our worst defensive game we’ve played all year,” WC assistant coach Kelvin Smith said. “I don’t understand how you can come out against your biggest rival in a division game that means so much and play like we did.
“We won four out of five, played hard and intense and we saw nothing like that today.”
After the Gators pushed their lead to 31-18 at halftime. The Vikings had plenty to do with that, though, connecting on just 11 of 51 shots, and just 4-of-19 3-pointers.
“Warren Central had a lot of intensity and emotions and made some great plays early,” Vicksburg coach Dellie Robinson said. “… I knew Warren Central had been playing well and I thought it would be a dogfight.”
Gerrick Durrell added nine points, as Vicksburg kept the lead at 13 before exploding in the fourth quarter and outscoring the hosts 23-8. The final seconds were highlighted by a thunderous dunk by Willie Powers.
“We did not have one person on this team that came out fired up, or intense. We had no senior leadership,” Smith said. “A couple things go wrong against Vicksburg and we freeze up. We don’t believe we can beat them.
“… If for some reason we play (Vicksburg) in the first round of the division tournament, our season is over, because no one on this team believes they can beat Vicksburg.”