Forest Hill overpowers Vicksburg

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 19, 2004

[2/18/04]Forest Hill built a commanding lead in Tuesday’s opening round matchup with Vicksburg in the Division 6-5A Tournament, then watched it evaporate.

Somehow, though, with his big players in foul trouble, Tommy Groves found a way to hold off the Missy Gators for a 63-50 win. Forest Hill (13-12) will play Warren Central for the division championship on Friday at 6 p.m.

“We knew the run was coming,” said Groves, whose team held a 39-22 lead late in the third quarter and watched as Vicksburg closed the gap to 43-37. “Any Mike Coleman-coached team is going to make that run. We had to find a way to hold them off.”

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletter

Receive daily headlines and obituaries

After VHS cut the lead, Groves called a timeout, put his foul-plagued post players back into the game and extended the lead to 13 with two minutes to play.

“They are so much bigger than us that they can push us around and not get any fouls called,” Vicksburg senior Tiffany Hubbard said. “We had a hard time matching up with them.”

Hubbard, in her final VHS game, led all scorers with 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Kristin Ellis had 13 points. The Missy Gators’ guards, though, shot a woeful 11 percent (4 of 35) from the field.

Jessica Thomas and Kim Ward scored 16 points each for Forest Hill, while Tameka Scott netted 10.

Vicksburg trailed from the outset and watched the Lady Rebels extend the lead to 17 in the third quarter. But all three Lady Rebels’ post players were saddled with foul trouble leaving the door open for a VHS comeback.

“We could never get them to foul out, though,” Coleman said.

Back-to-back baskets by Hubbard pulled Vicksburg to within six points before a timeout and the final Lady Rebels’ push.

“I don’t remember what I said in that timeout,” Groves said. “I had been telling the girls all game to keep things under control. We had so much foul trouble, we had to find a way.”

The loss dropped Vicksburg to 15-15 and marks the fifth straight season the Missy Gators have not made it out of division.

Coleman, who routinely made trips to the Coliseum while at Utica and Raymond, said the Missy Gators will be back.

“This team has worked harder than any team I have ever coached, and that is what you have to look at,” Coleman said. “Our days is coming, trust me, our day is coming.”