Vicksburg slips by Lady Vikes, 46-45

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 29, 2001

Rae Evans of Vicksburg gets ready to go up for the basket as WC’s JaQuita Benard, right, and Wanda Calvin defend. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[06/29/01] Almost seven months before their first division matchup, Vicksburg and Warren County gave raucous fans a feel of what is to come this season.

Shalonda Williams scored 19 points to lead the Missy Gators to a 46-45 win over Warren County, a team made up of Warren Central players, in an intense, physical matchup.

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“When I was walking off at halftime, (VHS boys) coach (Dellie) Robinson said, it’s always going to be a battle,’ ” Vicksburg coach Mike Coleman said. “I said, yeah, I’m beginning to believe that.’

“I don’t think it matters if we meet in the summer, spring, whatever. It’s real important to the kids on both teams.”

Wanda Calvin nailed a 3-pointer to pull the Lady Vikes to within one, but time expired before an inbounds pass. JaQuita Benard led the Lady Vikes with 10 points and Wendy Thomas scored seven.

It was Warren County’s inability to hit free throws that made the difference for the Missy Gators, who were swept by WC last season. Vicksburg connected on 17 of 21 free throws, while WC only hit 9 of 21.

“That was the difference in a one-point ballgame,” WC coach Donny Fuller said. “But still, Vicksburg is going to be good next year. I’ve been trying to tell people that. They have everybody back and a couple of players that didn’t play for them last year. If you don’t think they’re going to be good, you’re crazy.”

Tricia Dart and Rae Evans each scored five for Vicksburg, which shot out of the gate after falling down 4-0 to take a 17-6 lead midway through the first of two 16-minute halves.

WC clawed to within two, 20-18, at the half and took the lead 21-20 on a Calvin 3-point play 18 seconds into the second half.

But a tenacious trapping defense that caused 19 WC turnovers helped the Missy Gators retake the lead 24-23 with 12:58 to play. WC never led again.

“I feel like I have 10 players, maybe 11, that I can rotate in and out pretty good on that trapping defense,” Coleman said. “(Dart) and Kamika (Linzy) were my co-defensive players of the year last year and they didn’t even start. They’ve got such long arms it’s like they can reach all the way across the court almost.”

The Missy Gators were set to play again Friday against Blazing Red, a team made up of Provine players, at 7 p.m., followed by Warren County and Crystal Springs.

The tournament will conclude Saturday as both team’s summer seasons end.

“I think we’re a little tired,” said Fuller, whose team has played nine games in the last two weeks with two more. “Crud, the Houston Comets aren’t playing that many and they’re having to dadgum make up games because of the flood.”