Lady Vikes top Clinton in OT

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 16, 2002

[01/16/02]On a night when both teams shot just 32 percent from the floor, it’s only fitting that a missed shot was Warren Central’s biggest play of the game.

Freshman Cookie Johnson’s putback with 8.7 seconds left forced overtime and the Lady Vikes (19-4, 1-2 division) outscored Clinton 11-4 from there to win their first division game, 50-43.

“I saw the ball coming, and I just started praying when I shot it,” said Johnson, who rebounded a miss just in front of the basket and put it in with a little hook shot to make it 39-39.

LaShanda Williams stole the ball from Clinton star LaToya George on the inbounds play to create the opportunity, and JaQuita Benard got a three-point play in overtime that gave WC a four-point lead and fouled out Clinton star LaToya George.

“That didn’t hurt us,” WC coach Donny Fuller said with a smile.

Wanda Calvin led WC with 17 points and held George about 12 points under her average. Benard finished with 10 points, 16 rebounds and one monster block in the final ticks to help hold the lead. Wendy Thomas was solid with seven points, seven assists and six rebounds and Williams had five assists and three steals to go with eight points, including two big 3-pointers that kept Clinton from pulling away in the third quarter. Johnson came off the bench with eight points and 11 rebounds. She was the only Lady Vike to shoot better than 50 percent from the field, going 4-of-5.

“That was a big, big basket,” Fuller said. “She’s getting better and better, and that’s what we expected when we brought her up. She’s no longer a freshman.”

George, who finished with a game-high 18 points, missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer that would have given the Lady Arrows (17-4, 1-2) the win. She fouled out with 2:43 left in overtime, a little more than 30 seconds after getting her fourth foul.

“When you lose your best player, your leader, you have to think it hurts your chances,” Clinton coach Gary Miller said of George, who has committed to Louisiana Tech. “We missed some baskets right under the goal, but Warren Central did a good job. They hurt us on the boards late.”

Clinton appeared to be in the driver’s seat early in the third quarter, after George’s NBA-range 3-pointer gave the Lady Arrows a 32-23 lead. But WC chipped away with two 3-pointers by Williams and one from Calvin.

Wanda hit a trey at the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth to make it a two-point game and Johnson’s lay-in tied it at 37-37. Clinton went into a freeze after Hughes’ short jumper gave the Lady Arrows the lead. WC had fouls to give, then forced a turnover with 1:18 left, but missed two 3-point attempts.

Benard got the rebound after George missed a free throw, but she was called for a charge on the other end with 23.4 seconds left.

In the second quarter, WC trailed until the final minute, when Thomas’ give to Bernard made it 20-19 at the break.

Both coaches said they were surprised at how low-scoring the game was.

“I knew they were going to present us with some matchup problems because of their quickness,” Fuller said, adding that he tried to counter with his team’s size. “I wanted us to be patient.”

The Lady Vikes, now second to Natchez in division play, face division foe and archrival Vicksburg Saturday at 1 p.m.

(B) Clinton 74, WC 44

Coach Preston Wilson looked like the quickest Viking on the court when he went out past half-court to protest a non-call when Clinton star Jerekus Singleton pushed WC’s Antonio Brown after a foul on a breakaway.

“Throw him out of the game,” Wilson yelled to the referee over and over, pointing his finger at Singleton.

Instead, Wilson got a technical foul.

That was the most excitement for the Vikings (11-10, 0-3), who didn’t have an answer for Singleton (21 points), Orlando Harper (19 points), Patrick Veal (14 points) or even 5-foot-4 point guard Ivory Dishman, who had seven points and hounded WC ball-handlers all night.

Back-to-back slams by Veal and Harper gave the Arrows (18-5, 2-1) their biggest lead of the night, 73-41, midway through the fourth quarter. Clinton led 31-17 at the break.

“This is the first time I’ve started this lineup,” said Clinton coach Joel Boone, who got 15 points from sophomores Jenario Bunton and Dishman. Harper came off the bench “because he hadn’t played well the last couple of games.”

No WC players scored in double figures. Dewayne Washington led the Vikings with eight points.

“They were much more aggressive, and we didn’t handle it,” Wilson said. “We’re not getting the fastbreak points and defensive pressure on people we were in the early part of the year.”

WC was without starters Sherman Logan (ankle) and Steven McDevitt (back).

Singleton was on a breakaway late in the third when Brown came from behind to block his shot, but fouled him hard. Singleton gave him a little push, but nothing was called, prompting Wilson’s outburst.

“I’m always going to take up for my guys,” he said.