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Tradition-rich Murrah doubles up WC

Warren Central’s Carla Latham battles with Murrah’s Shaneka Jones for control of the ball during the Lady Vikes’ 64-58 loss on Tuesday night. (Melanie Duncan ThortisThe Vicksburg Post)

[2/11/04]With a minute left in the game, Warren Central’s Chico Hunter intentionally fouled Murrah’s Jeremy Caldwell as he reached up for a dunk. It was an act of frustration by Hunter, trying to save some face after watching his team get dominated all night long.

Jeremy Wise scored a game-high 28 points one of three Murrah players in double figures and the Mustangs slammed the Vikings, 79-60.

“We came in here a little apprehensive because we didn’t want to come in here, not play well and get knocked off,” said Murrah coach Robert Frith, adding that the team was without leading scorer Dexter Morris, who did not make the trip. “We wanted to come in and play well because that made us a little thin.”

Eric Vaughn replaced Morris in the starting lineup and contributed 15 points and nine rebounds. Kevin Gaines added 18 points and six steals, and Caldwell had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Mustangs (21-7), who pushed the ball upcourt on fast breaks throughout the game.

“They were getting a lot of transition points on us,” said WC’s Seddrick Williams, who scored a team-high 18 points. “We just didn’t come out ready to play from what I see. We were moving too slow.”

Warren Central (10-15), which has lost four of its last six games, had trouble breaking Murrah’s 2-3 zone all night and settled for outside shots instead.

“The key to a good zone is the guards outside,” Frith said. “They do a good job, you’re not going to penetrate with a dribble because they play it real well, and they know where to go.”

Often looking confused, the Vikings stood still and passed the ball around the perimeter.

“I don’t think it was so much the zone that was giving us trouble,” WC coach Jesse Johnson said. “It was our unwillingness to try and penetrate it. We’re quick to settle for the jump shot.”

When Warren Central did penetrate, it had to deal with Caldwell, who finished with six blocks and altered many other shots.

“When we got in there, sometimes they collided on us, and we just didn’t take care of the ball when it came down to getting the ball inside,” Williams said. “We tried our best, tried to do what we could do.”

Taking a 38-26 lead into halftime, Murrah opened up a 24-14 third quarter. The Mustangs led by as many as 27 in the final quarter before the Vikings closed the gap in the waning minutes.

On Friday, Warren Central will face Jefferson County which beat them 72-70 in overtime early in the season before opening the Division 6-5A Tournament on Tuesday.

“We need to come together as a team,” Williams said. “Everybody needs to have heart to play basketball. All this coming out here just to be in front of people, that’s nothing.”

(G) Murrah 64, WC 58

The Lady Vikes made a late surge, but came up short, ending their five-game winning streak against the state’s fourth-ranked girls team.

Warren Central had trouble containing Murrah’s inside game for much of the night.

Diamond Rogers scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Murrah (23-5). Shaneka Jones added 14 points and nine boards, and Murrah outrebounded WC 39-25.

Both sides came out firing on all cylinders for a 20-18 first quarter, but the Lady Vikes (18-8) were the first to run out of shots. Warren Central seemed to have the momentum, but a quick turn of events stole it away.

Down by one with 2 minutes left before halftime, Murrah got a 3-pointer from Jade Chatman and a layup by Jessica Mitchell to take a 32-28 lead into the break.

“That was big,” WC coach Donny Fuller said. “I was really upset because we let them get the last basket”

The Lady Mustangs then stretched the lead to 57-41 in the second half, before the Lady Vikes made their comeback midway through the fourth quarter.

WC cut the lead to as little as five, but Murrah never trailed again.

Cookie Johnson led Warren Central with 16 points and Carla Latham chipped in 15.