Gators, Lady Vikes reach tournament championship games|[12/01/06]

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 1, 2006

Phelps scores 40 in Vicksburg rout.

The Vicksburg Gators had a couple of things going for them on Thursday night. First, Callaway couldn’t take advantage of roughly two dozen offensive rebounds. And second, the Gators had Jonathan Phelps and Callaway didn’t.

Phelps scored 13 of his career-high 40 points in the fourth quarter, helping Vicksburg overcome a 36-28 rebounding deficit – most of them on the offensive end – to beat Callaway 72-57 in the Warren Central Classic.

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Vicksburg advanced to tonight’s championship game, where it will play Jim Hill at 8:30 p.m. Jim Hill beat host WC 68-48 on Thursday.

&#8220I was just feeling it,” said Phelps, who was 17-for-27 from the field and did not hit a 3-pointer. He also had seven rebounds and three blocked shots. &#8220I wanted to stay aggressive and not let them come back.”

Rashad Scott led Callaway (3-4) with 19 points and Rodney Washington added 12. The Chargers shot just 34 percent from the field, and were an abysmal 9-for-23 from the foul line.

Delmon Robinson and John Qualls had 12 points apiece for Vicksburg (5-3), including some key baskets down the stretch.

Vicksburg led 44-41 early in the fourth quarter when Robinson hit a 3-pointer that triggered an 8-0 run. Callaway coach Willie Myles called a timeout, but the Chargers missed back-to-back layups and Vicksburg converted the rebounds into easy baskets at the other end to push the lead to 56-41 with 4:56 to play.

Callaway never got closer than nine points the rest of the way. Qualls hit several free throws in the closing minutes to keep the Chargers at bay.

&#8220We wanted to up the tempo. If we’re not running, we can’t win,” Vicksburg coach Dellie C. Robinson said. &#8220And then Jonathan, when he’s on, he’s on. When we’re running and he’s in the open floor, he’s almost impossible to stop.”

Phelps also had 13 points in the first quarter, helping the Gators race to a 23-12 lead at the end of the period. Callaway closed the gap in a hurry, though, as Scott, Washington and James White each hit a 3-pointer in the first 90 seconds of the second quarter to cut it to 23-21.

(G) Callaway 55, VHS 50.

For 2 1/2 agonizing minutes Thursday night, the Vicksburg Missy Gators tried desperately to get the basketball away from Callaway. When they finally did, it seemed they didn’t quite know what to do with it.

Vicksburg missed two layups, two free throws and a 3-pointer in the last 2 1/2 minutes, allowed Callaway to grab several offensive rebounds, and spent the rest of the time chasing the Lady Chargers around the floor.

The ending offset a spectacular shooting night by Vicksburg’s Tiffany Williams. She went 7-for-12 from 3-point range, 9-of-13 from the floor overall, and finished with 25 points. Kamiko Martin added 14 points for the Missy Gators and Taylor Ammons had seven points and seven rebounds.

Kiana James had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Callaway (7-2), and Erica Hawkins had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

While Williams was lighting it up for the Missy Gators, the rest of their shooters were ice cold. Williams, Martin and Ammons accounted for 46 of VHS’ 50 points, and Vicksburg was just 10-for-25 on shots inside the 3-point arc.

Even so, the hot outside shooting kept them close the whole way. The teams stayed within a basket or two of each other until Callaway went on an 8-2 run at the end of the third quarter, capped by a 10-foot jumper by Bianco Heard, to take a 50-42 lead.

Vicksburg clawed its way back into it in the fourth. Martin came up with a steal and layup, and Ammons put back a miss to key an 8-1 run that cut it to 51-50 with a little over four minutes to play.

That was as close as the Missy Gators got. Callaway ran a successful stall and grabbed rebounds of the few shots it did take. Williams did come up with two steals and Keshia Collins had another, but VHS stumbled on the offensive end and wasn’t able to score again. The Lady Chargers hit a few free throws and escaped to play Warren Central in the girls’ championship game of the Warren Central Classic tonight.

Caples nets 31 in victory over Hill.

By Sean P. Murphy.

It’s always a treat to win your own tournament and the Warren Central Lady Vikes now have that opportunity.

Super sophomore Sha’Kayla Caples scored 31 points and snagged 14 rebounds as the Lady Vikes pulled away from Jim Hill in the second half for a 60-48 victory in the first round of the Warren Central Classic.

The Lady Vikes (7-1) are scheduled to play Callaway at 7 tonight in the championship game. Jim Hill and Vicksburg are scheduled to play at 4.

&#8220Callaway has a great guard in Collins and a great post player in James,” Warren Central coach Donny Fuller said. &#8220We’ve seen them play and they shoot the ball really well from the outside.”

In contrast to what Fuller expects to see from the Lady Chargers, his Lady Vikes like to score down low.

Caples, the reigning Vicksburg Post Player of the Year, hit 10 of 15 shots from the field and connected on 7 of 8 free throws. Six of her 14 rebounds were offensive, most leading to points.

&#8220I thought I had like three (rebounds),” the soft-spoken Caples said when asked about her statistics.

Sophomore Karnina Bunch added nine points and Shawnise Smith came off the bench to score six. Four of her points came in the early moments of the fourth quarter when Jim Hill sliced into a double-digit Warren Central lead.

WC got the lead to as many as 14 in the fourth quarter before the Lady Tigers used pressure defense to slice it to 50-42 with five minutes to play in the game.

&#8220It was a physical game,” Fuller said. &#8220But the officials called it that way on both ends and that’s all you can ask for.”

Baskets by Brittany Willis and Chiquita Wince pushed the lead back to 12 and the Lady Vikes were not threatened in the final minutes of the game.

Brigit Taylor scored a team-high 19 points and NeAisha Anderson scored 14 in the loss.

The matchup with Callaway will be the first time this season the two schools have met. If Vicksburg would have won, it would have set up the second meeting between the two county schools in less than a month. VHS defeated WC in the final of the Vicksburg Warren Classic on Nov. 11. The first Division 3-5A game between the two is Dec. 9.

Jim Hill 68, Warren Central 48.

Tristan McGowan scored 19 points to lead Jim Hill past the host Vikings and into the Warren Central Classic finals. Jim Hill will face Vicksburg tonight.

The Tigers jumped to a 16-3 first quarter lead and never trailed. Shone Ester led WC with 18 points and Mario Luckett had 17.