Vikings lose heartbreaker; Young Lady Vikes slam Rebs|[11/9/05]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 9, 2005

From Ernest Bowker

Everything seemed to be rolling Warren Central’s way Tuesday night.

Forest Hill was in the midst of a meltdown, the calls were going the Vikings’ way, and the easy shots were falling. Then, as quickly as it had started, it stopped. The shots stopped falling. The meltdown was averted. And the Vikings lost.

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Kevin Sims scored 33 points for Forest Hill (1-1) and Jarvis Watkins added 14, the last two on a pair of game-sealing free throws with 7.6 seconds left, as the Rebels held off a late WC charge and escaped with an 80-76 win in the first round of the Coca-Cola Classic tournament.

Rashaan Walker scored 20 points for WC, which will host Hazlehurst in a consolation game on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Forest Hill will play Wingfield on Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

&#8220We just gave them too many opportunities, and they took advantage of them. That was the difference in the game,” WC coach Jesse Johnson said.

Warren Central capped a 30-point second quarter with steals and layups by Shone Ester and Andre Thomas in the final minute. The two baskets capped a 13-3 WC run that trimmed a 14-point deficit to four, 46-42, at halftime.

The Vikings never got over the hump in the second half, though. After WC cut it to two points, 56-54 late in the third quarter, Forest Hill pushed the lead back to six points at the end of the period and led 78-70 with under 2 1/2 minutes to play in the game.

With the Vikings on the ropes, however, Forest Hill let them back in it. Sims missed a pair of free throws with 2 minutes to go and the Rebels’ next three possessions ended in turnovers.

The Rebels’ struggles led to six WC points, cutting it to 78-76 with 45.9 seconds to play.

&#8220We wanted to get the ball into our guards’ hands, and then they eat it and shoot free throws,” Forest Hill coach Clay Norton said. &#8220We did that a couple of times, and we don’t make our free throws. And when you don’t make free throws it’ll come back to haunt you.”

With 1:09 to play and Forest Hill ahead 78-74, Walker missed a 3-pointer and three separate putback attempts clanged off the rim.

Walker came up with a steal and layup to make it 78-76, but Ester missed a 3-pointer that would have put WC ahead with 30 seconds to play.

Forest Hill’s Brian Pitchford grabbed the rebound, and Watkins hit the free throws about 20 seconds later to seal the victory.

(G) WC 63, Forest Hill 40

Warren Central hit just 6 of 21 free throws, but took advantage of Forest Hill’s poor shooting to pull away in the fourth quarter and claim an easy victory in the first round of the Coca-Cola Classic tournament.

Amanda Doyle led WC (1-0) with 15 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Sha’Kayla Caples added 13 points and seven rebounds, and Karnina Bunch also scored 13 points.

The Lady Vikes advanced to face Wingfield on Thursday at 7 p.m. Forest Hill will play Hazlehurst in a consolation game on Thursday at 4 p.m. at WC.

&#8220I thought fatigue set in a little bit on Forest Hill. I told our kids that we didn’t win this game tonight on the court. We won this game in August and September out there on that track,” WC coach Donny Fuller said. &#8220It was a sweet win to open the year up, especially with a team as young as ours.”