Locals hit road for tournaments|[12/26/06]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Vicksburg Gators are headed back to the Jackson Public Schools Tournament for the first time in several years.

Gators coach Dellie C. Robinson says it was time.

&#8220Over the past couple of seasons, I didn’t think we had the team that could compete over there. This year’s team can compete. We look forward to taking our game to another level.”

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Vicksburg (10-3) will open the 12-team boys bracket against Callaway at 5 p.m. today at Lanier. The Gators beat the Chargers in their only meeting this season. A win against Callaway would send VHS against three-time Class 4A champion Lanier on Wednesday.

&#8220They’ve given us a tough game with Callaway and if we can win that one, we got Lanier in the next one. That’s tough. You know I’ve won it three times, but they didn’t do us any favors. We definitely would like the opportunity to play Lanier,” Robinson said.

&#8220We’re excited about playing in the JPS,” said VHS sophomore forward Maurice Williams. &#8220We want to put Vicksburg back on the basketball map.”

&#8220It’s a prestigious tournament and we want to show we can play with the best,” added Gator guard Delmon Robinson.

The Gators have a prolific scorer in guard Jonathan Phelps who is averaging nearly 29 points per game. He has gone over 35 points at least four times this season, including three such efforts against JPS schools.

The Vicksburg Missy Gators (8-5) will also play in the JPS, taking on the Callaway girls at 3:30 at Lanier.

Second-year Missy Gator coach Barbara Hartzog is hoping for a better effort than her team had Friday night in a 60-49 loss to Port Gibson.

&#8220We’ve played Callaway before, so that’s nothing new. We just got to be ready to play. We didn’t come ready to play against Port Gibson,” Hartzog said.

The VHS-Callaway winner will face the winner between Lanier and Meridian on Wednesday at Lanier. Meridian has been the Class 5A runner-up each of the past two years.

The Warren Central girls (11-3) are back in the field again. The Lady Vikes made it to the quarterfinals last year before running into Murrah. The Lady Mustangs are unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the state in the last week’s poll.

The Lady Vikes will face Bailey at 2 p.m. at Forest Hill. If they win, they will face the winner between Tchula Marshall and Provine on Wednesday.

While the Lady Vikes are playing in the JPS Tournament, Warren Central’s boys will be on the other side of Jackson participating in the Northwest Rankin Tournament. Their three-game schedule is just as tough, though.

The Vikings (5-9) open against Canton at 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, then face either Clinton or Hazlehurst on Thursday. WC will play at 12:15 p.m. Thursday if it loses its first game, or at 5:15 if it wins its opener.

Defending Class 5A champion Madison Central, Brandon, host Northwest Rankin and Lawrence County round out the field.

Porters Chapel Academy will also be in action this week. The Eagles and Lady Eagles will participate in the Sharkey-Issaquena tournament in Rolling Fork in a rare on-court appearance. Because of a late start and scheduling problems before the season, their openers against Tri-County on Wednesday will be just the fourth game for each team this season. PCA will also play Carroll Academy on Friday, and a championship-round game Saturday.