Depleted Missy Gators fall short to Brandon|[02/10/07]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 10, 2007

A depleted Vicksburg Missy Gators squad gave Brandon fits to the end on Senior Night at VHS Friday night.

The Lady Bulldogs (21-9) needed Jonyce Sanders’ 6-foot bank shot with 2.9 seconds left to beat Vicksburg which played without its entire frontcourt.

Senior Rachel Jenkins was already done for the year after a knee injury while regular center Taylor Ammons was out with a bad ankle and small forward Kamiko Martin was serving a one-game suspension.

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Still, the Missy Gators (15-12) nearly pulled off the upset behind a big game from senior guard Tiffany Williams, who scored a game-high 26 points.

VHS coach Barbara Hartzog was pleased with the effort.

&#8220We played with a lot of heart. We won this game in a lot of areas, especially with so much that has happened to us in the last few weeks,” Hartzog said. &#8220I’ve said all year, you’re only as good as your bench. We had some kids come in and play a good game.

&#8220We have nothing to be ashamed of and just need to move on.”

Next up will be Madison Central Tuesday night in an elimination game at the Division 3-5A Tournament at Greenville-Weston. Ammons said she will be back for Madison Central and so will Martin.

Starting in their place was backup forward LaJuana Thomas and guard Regina Erwin against a Brandon club that had an athletic 6-foot, 2-inch post player in Kiana McCarty and a 5-11 forward in Reshonda Dantzler.

Brandon coach Paul Hayden, however, expected a tough game.

&#8220We knew coming to Vicksburg would be tough,” said Hayden who coached four years at St. Aloysius before taking over at Brandon. &#8220Coach Hartzog always has athletic teams and she had a real quick team out there tonight.”

Vicksburg opened the game with three straight 3-pointers and led for much of the way until near the end of the third quarter when Brandon went up 40-39.

That lasted until the next possession when Williams drained a 3-pointer at the horn for a 42-40 lead.

Williams then gave Vicksburg its last lead at 51-50 after making one of two free throws with 40.7 seconds left.

Brandon answered with Dantzler dropping in a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left. Thomas, though, tied the game at 53 when she stuck back a VHS miss with eight seconds to go.

Brandon came down and Dantzler made the key pass, skipping the ball to Sanders who banked in the tie-breaking shot.

Vicksburg had one last chance, but Williams’ 35-footer at the horn hit front rim and bounded off.

McCarty finished with 12 points for Brandon while Dantzler had 11.

Keisha Collins had eight points, nine rebounds and six assists for Vicksburg.

(B) Vicksburg 64, Brandon 55

Brandon came into Vicksburg’s Senior Night boys game with 22 wins, but it was the Gators who got a major effort on the boards to turn back the Bulldogs.

&#8220One of our biggest weaknesses all season has been rebounding, but tonight, we did a decent job,” said VHS coach Dellie C. Robinson. The Gators out-rebounded the taller Bulldogs, 40-27.

The smallest Gator starter, Delmon Robinson, had the most boards with 12.

&#8220Delmon has good hop,” said Gator forward Jaybri Williams. &#8220He won (Class) the 5A high jump last year.”

Williams did his part, hitting a key 3-pointer with 2:42 left to put the Gators (17-10) up 55-47.

The Gators sealed it by making 5 of 6 free throws in the final minute. Jonathan Phelps, who had 18 points, made 7 of 9 free throws in the fourth quarter. Williams had 14 points while John Qualls ended with 13 points and nine rebounds.