Vikings lose another close one

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Warren Central’s Cookie Johnson, center, gets a shot up as Clinton’s Katorra Lewis (44) defends during the Lady Vikes’ 59-39 win on Tuesday. (Jenny SevcikThe Vicksburg Post)

[1/14/04]The final seconds of Tuesday’s Warren Central boys basketball game with Clinton summed up the season so far.

Brian Phelps’ off-balanced 3-pointer as time expired bounced off the back of the rim, and No. 7 Clinton survived for a 49-48 win in another game the Vikings (6-11) had every chance to win.

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It marked the Vikings’ sixth loss this season by fewer than four points and yet another where the team had a lead in the fourth quarter slip away.

“We’re staying positive,” said Phelps, who scored 10 points in the loss. “We have to lay off the mental breakdowns and keep our head in the game.”

Sernell Williams, who led all scorers with 25 points, hit a layup with two minutes to play in the game that gave Clinton (17-2) a 49-48 lead. Neither team scored the rest of the way.

A series of turnovers by both team, coupled with four missed free throws by Clinton, set up the Vikings for a chance at the win.

With 6.8 seconds to play and the ball at midcourt, WC inbounded the ball and quickly got it to Phelps, who was supposed to drive to the hoop for a layup.

Clinton, however, packed the lane knowing Phelps would get the ball. As he started to drive, the ball was tipped and Phelps had to regain control and launch the 3-pointer.

“We knew they were going to give it to Brian Phelps,” Clinton coach Bruce Robinson said. “What we wanted to do was have them throw it into the back court to keep it from getting too deep.”

The shot appeared to be headed into the bottom of the net before bounding helplessly to the ground.

“I thought it was in,” Robinson said.

Phelps added, “That’s kind of symbolizes how things have been going lately.”

Marcus Harvey added 10 points for the Vikings, who trailed for three quarters before taking the lead in the fourth.

A Phelps’ 3-pointer and a layup by Seddrick Williams gave WC a 46-41 lead midway through the fourth quarter, its biggest of the game.

“We have to stay focused and keep our heads on straight,” Phelps said. “Hopefully we can get a couple of district wins and see how far we can go.”

(G) WC 59, Clinton 39

Ebon Williams shot down Clinton with an almost perfect offensive showing.

The senior post player scored a game-high 18 points and had a stretch of hitting 8-of-9 shots in the Lady Vikes’ victory.

“She finally looked like the Ebon that we had at the end of last year,” Warren Central coach Donny Fuller said. “If she, and for that matter our whole team, plays like that, we can beat a lot of people.”

Carla Latham came off the bench to score 14 for the Lady Vikes (12-6). Ryan Herd scored 11 for the Lady Arrows.

The game stayed close throughout the first quarter, but a 15-6 Lady Vikes run over the last six minutes of the first half gave WC a 27-18 lead at the break.

The Lady Vikes extended the lead to 46-32 at the end of the third quarter and never looked back.

The win came three days after WC suffered its worst loss of the season, a two-point decision to Natchez.

“I thought it was very important for us to come out strong tonight, for two reasons,” Fuller said. “First, for the sanity of the coach, and second for the well-being of the players because the coach was ready to kill them.”

Warren Central is scheduled to host Port Gibson on Saturday at 6 p.m.