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Vicksburg embraces challenge for another crown

[11/3/03]It’s hard to top a state championship victory in overtime.

The best a team can do is repeat a test Vicksburg High is looking to take.

“We’ve been working hard all summer. We’re definitely looking forward to the challenge,” VHS coach Dellie Robinson said. “How well we do is going to be based on how well these kids come around.”

The Gators will have their work cut out for them as they replace four starters. The learning curve will be a small one as teams will be gunning for them every night.

“We’re expecting to do well,” Robinson said. “We’ve got a lot of shoes to fill.”

Gone from last year’s team are Vicksburg Post All-County players Devin Jones, L.J. Scott, Jamaal Thomas and Roy Williams. The four combined for an average of 43.4 points per game, leaving a gaping scoring hole for the Gators.

“Right now we’ve got seven people in the running for the starting job, so we’ll just have to see how that goes next week or so,” Robinson said.

Only Sedrick Williams and Cedric Parson return with any significant playing time.

“Experience is going to be one of our weak points because we don’t have the experience of actual playing,” Robinson said. “I think after the year goes on you’ll see a better Vicksburg team.”

At 6-feet, 5-inches, Parson is the tallest on the team and will play center. Parson knows he’ll need to step up his game for the younger players.

“I look at myself as a leader because people are going to look up to me,” Parson said. “So if I do good, they’re going to try to do good, try their best.”

The biggest challenge for Vicksburg may be replacing Jones Vicksburg Post’s Player of the Year last season. Jones averaged 16.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.3 steals, while controlling the offense as the point guard.

Robinson has shifted Williams the lone returning starter from shooting guard to point guard. Williams will need to adapt to the responsibility of running the offense rather than taking the open jumper.

“He’s used to shooting it, so his mentality is to shoot i instead of setting up the offense and running the offense,” Robinson said. “Sedrick’s mentality is shoot first and look to pass second.”

Williams agrees that he’s still adjusting to the position.

“It is different because I’m not the one sitting on the wing ready to run the play,” he said. “I’m the one calling the play like I’m the coach on the court.”

Williams knows he and the Gators have to learn quickly as they begin defending their title in the Brookhaven Classic on Saturday.

“We’ve got to go out and hustle every game,” Williams said. “People are trying to hunt us down because they want what we got. We finally got it, so now we’ve got to work hard to keep that name.”