Hinds AHS doubles-up Port Gibson|[10/31/07]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 31, 2007

PORT GIBSON — An experienced Hinds AHS team was able to overcome Port Gibson and its big new addition in 7-foot-2 center Jamarious Sykes on Tuesday.

The War Dawgs won their season opener 74-65 behind 23 points from Erik Burks and 17 each from returning starting guards Keeslee Stewart and JaCorey Wright.

Port Gibson (1-1) got a good game from Sykes, a junior transfer from North Hardy High School in Kentucky, with 18 points and 17 rebounds.

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

“It was really different to go up against some one that big,” said Hinds forward Kenderek Washington, who saw plenty of big men in the Coca Cola All-Star game in July as a member of the South team. Washington, a 6-4 senior, had to play against Mississippi State commit Romario Osby, a 6-9 forward.

Sykes is almost assuredly the state’s tallest player. Port Gibson coach Kim Windom is looking for big things as the season progresses.

“He came back to us over the Christmas break from North Hardy in Kentucky. He had gone to school here in elementary and was here until junior high. He wanted to come back and be with his class,” Windom said. “He’s coming around pretty well. We’d like for him to get more aggressive. He missed all of last year, so he hasn’t played since ninth grade, but he’ll be all right.”

Hinds coach Keith Williams felt the play of his returning guards played a key part in bouncing back from a 39-34 halftime deficit and pretty much taking Sykes out of the game.

“If my three guards are humming, we can go,” Williams said. “This was our first game but I thought we held our composure after they got the lead late in the first half. This particular group of kids are hungry and on a mission.”

Hinds was 26-4 and ranked No. 1 in Class 2A at the end of the regular season, but was upset in the second round of the South State Tournament last year.

With Wright, Stewart and Williams establishing a fast pace, the War Dawgs were able to cut up Port Gibson’s defense. Burks, a junior who gained experience with the junior varsity last year, scored 13 of his 23 points in the third quarter as Hinds turned the five-point deficit into 56-48 lead.

Sykes was quiet in the third, scoring just one basket, the only time he was able get the ball after posting up his man. He came alive again in the fourth quarter, scoring nine points, including six off tip-ins. He also had nine rebounds and an assist. Port Gibson, though, was unable to cut into the lead.

“We were a little selfish with the ball, but this is a young ball club,” Windom said. The Blue Waves will play next week in Vicksburg-Warren Tournament.

Dominque Ratliff had 14 points for the Waves while Kadeem Fleming chipped in 11.

(G) Hinds AHS 57, PG 54

Jerrica Neil’s basket with 8.8 seconds left broke a 54-54 tie with the Blue Wavettes. She then added a free throw a second later and Port Gibson missed a half-court shot at the buzzer.

Shannon Johnson scored a game high 20 points to lead Port Gibson, which led 45-38 after three quarters. Hinds (1-0) roared back outscoring Port Gibson 23-8 in the fourth quarter.

Leanne Washington led Hinds with 14 and Taneshia Clark had 12.