Lady Vikes lose heartbreaker in OT|[2/26/06]

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 27, 2006

CLINTON – Warren Central stood 4.8 seconds from an improbable trip to the Class 5A state tournament.

A season that was supposed to be a rebuilding campaign with five new starters was on the brink of going farther than 26 other clubs.

Then Tiarra Jackson grabbed the inbounds pass and proceeded to dash those dreams.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Jackson, a lightning-quick 5-foot, 3-inch guard raced the length of the floor and scooped in a basket a fraction of a second before the buzzer sounded, or if asking the Warren Central faithful, a fraction too late. The shot tied the game at 53 and the Honey Bees went on to win an overtime thriller 58-57 in front of a partisan WC crowd at Clinton High School.

Greenville advances to the state tournament, while the Lady Vikes end the season with a 22-11 record.

&#8220I didn’t think she was going to make it,” said WC’s Amanda Doyle, the only senior on the team. &#8220She didn’t get it off, but what can you do, it’s over with now.”

In overtime, it was Warren Central’s turn to win in dramatic fashion. With 9.6 seconds to play, WC inbounded the ball, but it was stripped and a mad scrum for the lost leather ensued. The ball found its way into Alyssa Johnson’s hands and she pushed it ball downcourt as time expired.

&#8220This is our first time going (to the Coliseum) since 1999,” said a teary-eyed Jackson, who scored 15 points for the Honey Bees. &#8220Those girls in there, they played hard tonight.”

Marchetta Walker scored 17 points in the victory. Brittany Willis scored 12 of her team-high 17 points in the first half and Sha’Kayla Caples scored 10 for Warren Central.

Ask Warren Central coach Donny Fuller about the end of regulation and overtime, and he won’t point to the last-second ending or the overtime, but the Lady Vikes’ lack of free throw shooting.

&#8220We shot 13 of 29 from the free throw line tonight, that’s what beat us,” said Fuller, who was trying to get the Lady Vikes back to the Big House for the third straight season. &#8220If we make 50 percent of our free throws, we are getting ready to go to Jackson right now.”

WC held a 52-49 advantage with 12 seconds to play when Stephanie Jackson converted a basket to get the deficit to one. Willis, one of the Lady Vikes’ top free throw shooters who had made a pair on her last trip to the line, made one of two shots to give WC a 53-51 lead to set up Jackson’s heroics.

&#8220We were going to get the ball to Tiarra because she is one of our seniors,” said Greenville coach Patansy Miller.

Both teams played back-and-forth in overtime, exchanging one-point leads twice. Caples hit one of two free throws with 19 seconds to play to tie the game at 57.

Walker then drew a foul with 12 seconds to play and nailed one shot. Warren Central called timeout and inbounded from midcourt, looking for Caples down low. The freshman scored eight of her points in the fourth quarter and in overtime.

&#8220We wanted to double-down on 32 because we knew they were going to try to get the ball to her,” Miller said. &#8220We wanted to get our hands up and keep them from getting an easy layup.”

The Lady Vikes won the regular-season Division 3-5A title and advanced to North State with a win at Olive Branch on Monday. The team will return every player except Doyle next year.

&#8220You hate for it to end because these kids have worked so hard for us this season,” Fuller said. &#8220This team accomplished more than anyone around thought they would. We graduated what we did, had no starters coming back, were undersized with not much depth and we fought and clawed and won 22 basketball games. And there we are, one point from making it to the Coliseum.”