Top-flight teams highlight RCC

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 22, 2004

[1/22/04]Some of Warren County’s basketball coaches like to use the Red Carpet Classic as a fun time to get young players more experience. Others look at it as a chance to tinker with their sets, or simply play another game.

Whatever their goals, they’ll have a rough go of it at the RCC next Saturday. Four of the six teams heading to Warren Central for the tournament have won at least 14 games this season, and another has a winning record against tough competition.

“I don’t know if we need another challenge or not. We’ve got our hands full with Warren Central this week and then Natchez on Tuesday,” said Vicksburg High coach Dellie Robinson, who will face Crystal Springs. “It’s going to definitely be some great basketball for the fans to come out and watch.”

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Crystal Springs will bring a pair of powerhouse teams to play VHS. The Tigers are 17-3, while the Lady Tigers boast a 16-4 record. Both the VHS boys and girls teams faced Crystal Springs in the summer, and both coaches came away impressed.

“They’re real good. We played them this summer, and they are probably the most athletic team we played,” VHS girls coach Mike Coleman said.

Warren Central will have just as tough a time with its opponents. The Lady Vikes will play Gulfport (14-5), while the Vikings host No. 9 Grenada (19-5) in the final game of the day.

WC boys coach Jesse Johnson planned to scout Grenada next week, but was eager for the challenge.

“We’re looking to take this and add it to our win column, because our goal is to win out now and win our district,” Johnson said. “We’re going to use it as a stepping stone to see how we’ll do in district.”

St. Aloysius, meanwhile, will try to get over a hump against Greenville-St. Joe. The Lady Flashes have beaten St. Joe twice this season including a 34-6 thrashing in Greenville on Tuesday but the Flashes have lost a pair of close games to the Irish.

St. Joe claimed a seven-point win in the Catholic Schools Tournament in December, as well as a six-point win on Tuesday. While the Lady Irish have struggled mightily this season, the St. Joe boys have played several larger teams close.

“Their boys are a completely different story,” St. Al coach Paul Hayden said. “They played Greenville-Weston twice and they played Grenada to 13 points two weeks ago, and they played several 5A teams.”

In addition to the basketball, the half-court shot contest returns for the second time. One person will be selected from the crowd and given one shot from the half-court stripe for $10,000. Anyone who buys a ticket is eligible for the contest, although current varsity basketball players or former college or pro players will not be allowed to shoot.

This RCC will also be the last one at Warren Central for two years.

Previously, the game has been held at WC exclusively because its gym has the largest capacity in the county. Beginning next year, however, the tournament will alternate between Vicksburg High and WC.