Gators get back on right track|[12/08/07]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 8, 2007

Needing a home Division 3-4A win in the worst way, Vicksburg rediscovered its offense Friday night against Canton.

The Gators (9-3, 1-1) got 24 points from senior guard Jonathan Phelps to beat the visiting Canton Tigers 56-43.

“This was a big win for us because it was in the district,” Phelps said.

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“We felt like we gave away the last two games,” VHS coach Dellie C. Robinson said. The Gators lost to division rival Callaway in the finals of last week’s Warren Central Classic. That game did not count in the division standings but Tuesday’s 59-53 loss at home to Ridgeland did.

The Gators could not afford to fall to 0-2 in the division with a pair of home losses. They did not.

“Tonight we ran our offense all the way through, rather than going 1-on-1, which is something we did the last two games,” Robinson said. “It paid off for us tonight.”

The Gators took better shots and that resulted in a 53 percent shooting night with 23 makes on 44 attempts.

“That was the key, we ran our offense,” Phelps said. “Our fourth quarter management hadn’t been too good in the last two games, but tonight, we stopped trying to go 1-on-1.”

Canton (6-5, 1-1) had its only lead in the first two minutes when Toroski Robinson scored the Tigers’ first eight points for an 8-3 lead. He did not score again.

“We kind of paid him a lot of attention after he hit those back-to-back 3-pointers,” Robinson said.

Vicksburg went on a 12-2 run to close out the first quarter to go up 17-12. They were hardly threatened again.

A 3-pointer by Jaybri Williams put the Gators up 29-14 with 2:47 left in the half. They went to the break up 31-17.

Canton came out in a press in the second half and forced five straight turnovers. The Tigers converted three of the miscues into six points to trim the gap to 31-23. Freshman Mychal Ammons then made a key putback basket and Phelps drained a 12-footer to take the lead back to 12.

Maurice Williams’ steal and pass to Phelps gave the Gators a 15-point edge with 1:11 left in the quarter. Canton could come no closer than 11 points in the fourth quarter as the Gators went to a keep-away spread.

Jaybri Williams ended with nine points while Ammons had eight points and eight rebounds. Phelps chipped in five assists and five rebounds to his sheet.

Canton was led by Kenitric Gillum with 11 points.

(G) Canton 53, Vicksburg 47

Canton (6-5, 1-1) scored the last 14 points of the third quarter to build a 20-point lead and then held off a late Missy Gator rally for the win.

The 14-0 run gave Canton a 47-27 lead. Vicksburg (6-6, 1-1) got it down to 51-47 with 30 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Kamiko Martin. The Lady Tigers, though, got a late basket by Quadavia Chambers to seal the win.

Chambers led Canton with 17 points. Shaniqua Diamond had 11 and Tamara Sims chipped in 10. Vicksburg was led by Martin’s game-best 18, including 12 off four made 3-pointers. Taylor Ammons had 13.

(G) WC 59, Callaway 50

Sha’Kayla Caples scored 25 points, Karnina Bunch added 12, and Warren Central avenged last week’s loss to Callaway. Kiana James and Bianca Heard led Callaway with 13 points apiece.

Warren Central (8-4) led most of the way, but Callaway made a run late in the third quarter to get within a few points. The Lady Vikes weathered the storm, however, and made enough free throws down the stretch to hang on.

Warren Central will host Jim Hill on Tuesday night at 6.