Lady Vikes set sights on Picayune|[2/21/05]

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 21, 2005

For one night, it’s do or die for the Warren Central Lady Vikes.

The Division 6-5A champions will host Picayune, the Division 5 runner up, tonight at 7 in the South State satellite game.

The winner advances to this weekend’s South State Tournament on the Gulf Coast. Three of those four teams will reach the state tournament.

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“We have to come out and play the way we’ve been playing,” said WC guard Saleda Montgomery, who had 17 points in the division-clinching win over Natchez. “We want to get back to the Big House really bad.”

The Lady Vikes (22-7) advanced to the state tournament a year ago before falling to Murrah in the opening round. All five WC starters were juniors on that team.

“We want to work hard and win a state championship,” said forward Carla Latham, who scored a team-high 19 points in the win over Natchez. “We know it will be tough, though.”

Picayune enters the game with nine losses, but WC coach Donny Fuller is quick to point to who those losses have come against. The Maroon Tide has lost three times to top-seeded Hancock, twice to highly ranked Bay High and they split with Harrison Central.

“We know that it will be a fight,” Fuller said. “But the good thing is if you win this one, then all you have to do is win one out of the next two to make it to the Big House.”

Picayune lost to Hancock on Friday in the Division 5 championship game.

Warren Central, meanwhile, built a 20-point lead against Natchez. The Lady Vikes controlled the boards and kept the quick Bulldogs from creating turnovers.

Cookie Johnson scored 18 points and Brittany Banks added 12 as four starters finished in double figures.

That was a rarity because Fuller substitutes freely, opening the scoring up for most of his team.

The Lady Vikes will not be the only local team in action tonight. The St. Aloysius Lady Flashes, the third-place finisher in Division 7-1A, will travel to Mize to square off against the Lady Bulldogs.

St. Al defeated Bogue Chitto in the third-place game and is scheduled to tip off tonight at 7.

Mize, which is coached by former Warren Central girls coach Barney Finch, lost in the final seconds to Stringer in the division championship game.

Around the area, Hinds AHS will make its first move toward a state championship with a home matchup against Williams-Sullivan.

Port Gibson, which finished third in Division 7-3A, will travel to Tylertown for its opening round game. South Delta, the lone area team in the North, will play Senatobia in its satellite game.

The boys take to the court Tuesday with a pair of Warren County teams in action.

Vicksburg will host Hattiesburg, a team it defeated en route to the state championship two seasons ago, on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Warren Central, which lost the Division 6-5A championship to Vicksburg, will play at Picayune.

Port Gibson is scheduled to play at Tylertown on Tuesday, while Hinds AHS is scheduled to host Newton.

South Delta’s boys will play at Rosa Fort in Tunica, also on Tuesday.