Vikings vault into JPS second round; Lady Vikes fall

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 27, 2002

JACKSON Warren Central senior point guard Ronnie Jones made sure that this Jackson Public Schools Tournament would not end like so many in the past.

Jones scored a team-high 25 points to lift Warren Central (12-3) past Bailey, 82-76, and into the second round of the JPS Tournament. The Vikings will play Provine today at 5:30 p.m. at Forest Hill. WC has been eliminated in the first round the past two seasons.

The Vikings led by as many as 11 in the first half, with Jones scoring their first 10 points. Despite Jones’ effort, WC needed a fourth-quarter surge to get past the Knights (8-5).

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“It was a way of getting going, get out early and playing hard,” Jones said of his first-quarter shooting spree. “I don’t know what happened in the second half, I started cold, but the team brought us through.”

Dewayne Washington scored six of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and pulled in six rebounds, Chi-Chi Ezekwe had seven points, eight rebounds and three blocks and Brian Phelps scored five of his seven points in the fourth quarter.

Mirroring their early season success, the Vikings opened the game with a 12-3 run, holding the Knights to a single basket midway through the first quarter.

The Knights, having a hard time locating a basket, used 16 free throws and four 3-pointers to take a 42-40 lead at the half, a lead they held until early in the fourth quarter when Ezekwe tied the game at 60, hitting one of two free throws.

The Vikings hit 11 of 13 free throws down the stretch to hold off the Knights, setting up a second round game with Provine at 5:30 p.m. at Forest Hill.

“We’re playing good basketball, playing hard, and that’s the difference right now,” Vikings coach Preston Wilson said. “We’ve got to hit the free throws to be successful, and we did that.”

Bailey 65, WC 57

Not even Cookie Johnson’s 29 points could help the Lady Vikes overcome the Lady Knights.

Hitting free throws might have helped WC, though.

The Lady Vikes (7-8) shot a dismal 14 of 28 from the free throw line while the Lady Knights (7-3) converted on 21 of 31, led by Dana Parker’s 10 of 12 for her team high 24 points.

“After a while I thought we’d figure out not to foul (Parker),” Lady Vikes coach Donny Fuller said. “She is going to make them.”

Talisha Butler scored eight points and Tranyce Peoples and Dorothy Jenkins scored six apiece.

The Lady Vikes will play Canton in the loser’s bracket at Wingfield at 4 p.m. today.

Bailey will play No. 13 Provine at Forest Hill at 4 p.m.