Fourth-quarter surge powers Lanier past WC

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Lanier’s R.L. Horton, left, drives into Warren Central’s Andy Anderton before scoring a basket in the second half of the Bulldogs’ 94-68 win over Warren Central in the Jackson Public Schools Tournament on Tuesday night. (Jon GiffinThe Vicksburg Post)

[12/29/04]JACKSON For three quarters, the chants of “We want Provine, We want Provine” subsided in the Lanier High gym.

In the fourth quarter, it returned.

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Warren Central had the top-ranked Bulldogs (15-2) within five points entering the fourth quarter before wilting under a relentless barrage of Lanier points in a 94-68 defeat. The win by Lanier inches the Jackson power closer to a rematch with Provine in the Jackson Public Schools Pepsi Tournament championship game today.

“We ran out of gas in the fourth quarter,” said Warren Central coach Jesse Johnson, who was playing without three players because they missed practice over the holiday. “I think we played at our level. I think our guys were expecting a little more (from Lanier). I think our guys were anticipating a little better team than it was.”

Monta Ellis, considered by many recruiting services as the top guard prospect in the country, scored 14 of his game-high 39 points four off his average in the fourth quarter as the Bulldogs outscored WC 35-14.

“It’s hard to explain, you look up one minute and your down seven and the next minute you’re down 20. That’s the kind of team they are,” said WC’s Cody Grant, who scored nine points. “With about 4 1/2 minutes to play in the fourth, we’re down 20 and we could start to feel it was slipping away.”

Chico Hunter led Warren Central with 17 points and Mario Luckett netted 15.

Hunter, who did not score in the second half, fouled out in the fourth quarter while Lanier was putting on a show for a capacity home crowd.

The Bulldogs forced Warren Central into 16 fourth-quarter turnovers, turning most into high-flying dunks, alley-oops and reverse layups that drew “oohs and ahhs” from the fans.

“Our guys knew they weren’t playing their best,” Lanier coach Thomas Billups said. “I told them that it was sad that we were playing this way because I knew we could play better.

“You can tell them, but they know they’re not playing good.”

Kalauso Williams added 22 points in the victory and Sam Walton netted 14.

Warren Central kept it close throughout. The Vikings (8-7) trailed by eight at the end of the first quarter, and Tiger Robinson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer before halftime cut the lead to seven points.

WC pulled the deficit to as little as five points in the third quarter.

“We had them,” Hunter said. “But the fourth quarter started off wrong. We had them though. I don’t even remember their names. We had them.”

Warren Central will be back in action on Jan. 4 against Forest Hill in Jackson.

Warren Central 54, Lanier 38

Warren Central bounced back from its opening round loss in the Jackson Public Schools Tournament with an easy win over Lanier.

Cookie Johnson, Shondalyn Rogers and Brittany Banks each scored 11 points as the Lady Vikes (11-4) led from the start.

“We just didn’t play yesterday,” said WC coach Donny Fuller of Monday night’s 63-62 loss to Wingfield. “If we played yesterday like we played tonight, I beleive we’d be getting ready to play Callaway at 10 this morning.”

Warren Central led by five at halftime, then extended the lead to seven at the end of the third quarter before blowing the game open in the fourth.