Hot-shooting Jaguars slam Vicksburg|[01/10/07]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 10, 2007

MADISON – In the next two years, when Dellie C. Robinson is coaching the Vicksburg Gators through games against powerhouses like Lanier, Callaway and Canton, he might find a little reason to smile.

That’s because, no matter how bad the next two seasons in a tough Class 4A division will be, at least Madison Central won’t be there.

Madison started the game with an 18-0 run Tuesday night, then used deadly 3-point shooting and a decided height advantage to cruise to a 92-69 rout. After the Jaguars’ fast start, they never led by fewer than 16 points.

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Reggie Welch scored 25 points and Malcoln Kirkland added 18 for Madison (9-10, 1-0 Division 3-5A), which beat Vicksburg (12-6, 2-1) for the fourth time in as many tries since they became division rivals last season. Madison Central beat VHS three times last season en route to its first Class 5A state championship.

Jonathan Phelps scored a game-high 36 points for Vicksburg.

&#8220We knew we were going to have problems matching up with them inside, and hoped they wouldn’t hit those threes. When they’re shooting like they did tonight, they’re hard to deal with,” Robinson said of the Jaguars, who were 10-of-16 from 3-point range and hit 63.6 percent of their shots from the field. &#8220They lit it up. It was one of those nights where they did everything right and we did everything wrong.”

And that happened right from the get-go.

Madison went 8-for-12 from the field, outrebounded Vicksburg 9-4, and committed only one turnover while building a 28-7 lead after one quarter.

Vicksburg committed four turnovers while missing its first six shots of the game. By the time Jonathan Phelps scored the Gators’ first points on a 10-foot floater with 2:51 left in the opening period, they were down 18-0 and in a hole far too deep to crawl out of.

Madison Central answered every brief Gator run with one of its own and kept the lead around 20 points for most of the game.

&#8220That’s by far the best we’ve shot the ball this season,” Madison coach Jeff Heath said. &#8220We worked to get good, open shots. That helped us get the lead and we did a good job maintaining it.”

(G) Madison 45, VHS 42

Keosha Ransom scored 20 of her game-high 23 points in the second half, including the last eight for Madison Central as the Lady Jaguars rallied to beat Vicksburg.

VHS led 42-37 with just under four minutes to play, but did not score a point down the stretch. The Missy Gators missed three 3-pointers and a layup in the last 3:39, opening the door for Madison.

Ransom hit two free throws to cut it to 42-39 with 2:04 left, then converted a three-point play a minute later to tie it. After Vicksburg’s Kamiko Martin missed a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left, Ransom hit a layup and a free throw at the other end of the floor to put the Lady Jaguars (10-7, 1-0) ahead for good.