Scott, Sims help Vicksburg squads hold off South Pike

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 30, 2001

[11/30/01]For one half Thursday against South Pike, Vicksburg High could do no wrong. For the other half, the Gators barely did anything right, and it nearly cost them a victory.

Playing without starting center Patrick Igbokwe, who sprained his ankle in practice on Friday, VHS shot a blistering 82 percent from the floor in the first half. VHS hit 18 of 22 shots and built a 20-point lead.

Then the Gators committed 20 turnovers in the second half and watched the lead evaporate to a single point before escaping, 63-62, in the Warren Central Classic.

Lemira Scott led VHS with 18 points, while Dewayne Jackson added 13 and Jaamal Thomas had 10. Willie Powers had 13 points and eight assists, and Devin Jones had seven points and five assists for the Gators, who will face WC in the championship game Saturday.

Kevin McCoy had 21 points and five steals to lead South Pike (4-3), while Kenny Magee had eight points and seven steals, Stacey Forrest had 15 points and Kendrick Nathaniel had 11 points.

“We were very fortunate to win the ballgame,” VHS coach Dellie Robinson said. “We did a good job in the first half, we just ran out of gas.”

VHS hit all nine of its shots in the second quarter to lead 40-20 at halftime. Most of the shots were created by Powers, who dished off six assists in the period and had eight points in the first half, including the last two on an alley-oop dunk from Roy Williams.

“It was just perfect,” Jackson said of the first half. “Perfect execution, perfect looks. We broke every press they threw at us.”

The Gators started stumbling in the third quarter, committing 12 turnovers against a persistent press, but were able to keep the lead around 15 points. In the fourth quarter, however, the Eagles were finally able to gain some momentum from the turnovers and made a 17-4 run over the final 3:50.

“We tried to get it done on the defensive end of the floor,” South Pike coach Joe Leavy said. “The pressure we put on the ball made the difference.”

South Pike got the deficit to single digits, 61-52, on a jumper by Monta Ellezy with 2:20 to play, and cut it to 63-60 on a pair of free throws by Forrest with 14.1 seconds left. Forrest then put back a missed 3-pointer by McCoy with 1.8 seconds remaining, but after a timeout, the Eagles were unable to foul.

“We started coasting. We thought we were too far ahead for them to do anything,” Jackson said.

(G) VHS 51, South Pike 45

Marguerite Sims led the Missy Gators (7-5) into Saturday’s championship game with 21 points, eight rebounds and five steals.

Tiffany Hubbard added 11 points and Rae Evans grabbed seven rebounds for VHS, which pulled ahead in the first quarter, then matched every run South Pike (6-1) made until putting the game away.

“I think their runs came because we missed easy shots,” said VHS coach Mike Coleman, whose team was 19-for-39 from the field but missed numerous layups. “We weren’t finishing. If we don’t hit anything else, we’ve got to hit layups.”

VHS opened a 10-point lead early in the second quarter, but South Pike came back to tie it, 18-18, with 2:51 to play in the first half. The teams went back-and-forth from there, trading runs until the fourth.

With about two minutes to play and Vicksburg leading 45-41, South Pike passed up mid-range shots for 3-pointers and longer jumpers, and couldn’t hit any. Sims hit four late free throws to put the game away.

“I don’t think it was panic,” South Pike coach Marcus Flippin said. “We just got outhustled … .”