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Vikings double-up C. Springs

[11/24/04]Just when it seemed like it was safe for Warren Central to relax Tuesday night, the Vikings did.

And it almost cost them.

Crystal Springs chopped a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to three with less than 2 minutes to play, but WC was able to hit enough free throws and shots to hang on for an 84-74 win.

Chico Hunter led the Vikings with 24 points and Anthony Lewis scored 13. Cody Grant finished with 16 and Shaun Walker had 11, and both players hit several key free throws down the stretch to keep WC (5-2) in front.

“We were getting relaxed and not caring until we looked up and saw that time was running out and we knew we had to play,” Hunter said.

Neither team was able to pull away until the end of the third quarter, when the Vikings’ defensive pressure finally got to Crystal Springs (4-4).

The Tigers started throwing the ball away, missing shots and allowing WC to score easy transition baskets. WC scored seven straight points to take a 52-44 lead with 2:09 to play in the third, and Hunter and Lewis added two more baskets to stretch the lead to 12 points before Crystal Springs’ Trevor Floyd broke the run with a basket.

The Vikings answered with a 3-pointer by Shon Ester at the buzzer, then extended the lead to 63-48 a minute into the fourth.

As suddenly as WC’s surge had started, however, it ended. Crystal Springs went on a 12-2 run of its own to get back into it, cutting the lead to 65-60 on a layup by Demario Martin with 4:40 to play. The Tigers got as close as three points, at 75-72, on a free throw by Curtis Thomas before the Vikings were able to slam the door.

Andy Anderton scored on a putback of a missed free throw with 1:27 to play and Walker hit one of two free throws 30 seconds later to make it 78-72. Crystal Springs’ shooting went cold in the final minute in part because Martin, who had a team-high 20 points, fouled out and the Vikings were able to finish the game with a 9-2 run to secure the win.

“We knew we were going to wear them down in the end. That was my plan, was to use our pressure to wear them down,” WC coach Jesse Johnson said. “Fortunately, we’re able to play nine or 10 people and we’ve been able to wear a couple of teams down that only go six or seven deep.”

(G) WC 65, Crystal Springs 59

Carla Latham scored 10 of her team-high 20 points in the final five minutes, including a pair of three-point plays that sparked Warren Central past Crystal Springs.

The game was tight until Latham was fouled under the goal and hit the free throw to give WC a 57-50 lead with just under five minutes remaining. About a minute later, she converted another three-point play to push the lead to 10 points, then hit four free throws down the stretch to keep the Lady Vikes in front.

“I thought we were a little tired and leg-weary, and it showed in our shooting,” said WC coach Donny Fuller, whose team dropped a tough decision to No. 3 Callaway on Monday and was 27-for-63 from the field against Crystal Springs, with nearly a dozen airballs not counted toward that total. “A lot of our shots came up short … but our kids fought through it.”

Cookie Johnson had 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Lady Vikes (5-2). Teyeisha Williams led Crystal Springs (6-1) with 20 points, Suma Dixon added 17 points and 15 rebounds, and Dominique Whitfield had eight points and 10 rebounds.