Lady Vikes, Gators stifle crosstown rivals

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Vicksburg High’s Cedric Parson (32) and Alfred Patton team up to block a layup by Warren Central’s Mario Luckett, left, during Saturday’s 48-38 Vicksburg win.(Melanue Duncan Thortis The Vicksburg Post)

[2/8/04]For one quarter, Warren Central could do no wrong.

Carla Latham scored 11 of her game-high 16 points in the third quarter and Warren Central defeated Vicksburg 60-49 on Saturday.

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The final score was somewhat deceiving. The Lady Vikes outscored the Missy Gators 20-5 in a decisive third quarter to take a 21-point lead before Vicksburg trimmed down the advantage during garbage time.

“I told our kids at halftime that I thought one of the big keys when we came out here was going to be the first four minutes of the third quarter,” WC coach Donny Fuller said. “That would set the tone for the rest of the game.”

The Lady Vikes (18-7, 5-1 Division 6-5A) have swept the regular-season series, but this game meant nothing to the divisional standings. Warren Central had locked up first place with a win over Forest Hill on Tuesday and will face Natchez in the division tournament on Feb. 17. Vicksburg, the third seed, will play Forest Hill.

The two Warren County rivals could meet for a third time if both advance past the first round.

On Saturday, both sides had trouble finding easy baskets in the first half with each shooting below 30 percent and missing countless open shots.

“We play each other and see each other play so much, it’s not like you can go in there with very many surprises,” Fuller said. “We knew what to expect from them. We’d worked on a bunch of their stuff, just like they’d worked on a bunch of our stuff.”

The Lady Vikes came on strong to shoot 43 percent in the second half. They also hit 3 of 7 3-pointers after halftime all during the third-quarter run.

“It seemed like everything they threw up went in,” VHS coach Mike Coleman said. “We just couldn’t get anything to drop. I felt like we were handling their press pretty good, but we just couldn’t finish.”

Tiffany Hubbard led Vicksburg with 15 points and 15 rebounds. But she struggled throughout the game, missing several open layups and finishing 7-of-22 from the field.

Usually another good source for scoring, Kristin Ellis had only three points and attempted only three shots for the Missy Gators.

“Everybody played good help defense,” said WC’s Cookie Johnson, who had 15 points and seven rebounds. “We got on help real good and denied the ball.”

VHS’ Cre’Tarsha Taylor opened the second half with a 3-pointer to cut the Lady Vikes’ lead to 29-26. Warren Central responded with a 20-2 run to end the quarter with a 49-28 advantage.

“Coach Fuller told us to break their press with quick passes and short passes,” Latham said. “We tried to do that in the third quarter so we could get a big lead.”

The Missy Gators (15-12, 2-4) outscored the Lady Vikes 21-11 in the fourth quarter, but most of their points came with Warren Central’s reserves on the court.

“They just got hot for about three or four minutes there,” Coleman said. “That’s about all I can say about it. They made their shots, and we didn’t make ours.”