Missy Gators ousted from tournament|[02/12/08]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 12, 2008

JACKSON — Callaway coach Maxine Johnson expected a tough game for her second-seeded Lady Chargers against Vicksburg. It didn’t materalize as Kiana James and Danielle O’Neal controlled the inside to lead Callaway to an easy 74-42 romp Monday night in the opening round of the Division 3-4A Tournament at Lanier.

Callaway (20-9) moves on to face Yazoo City on Thursday night in the semifinals. Vicksburg ends its season at 10-20.

“I thought they would play us tougher for a longer time, but tonight they played tough for a quarter,” Johnson said of the 32-point win. “We just wanted to get the ball down the court against them. They can put pressure on you, but we did a good job of pushing the ball.”

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About the only concern the Lady Chargers had after a 20-2 run put them up 27-12 was a late second quarter ankle injury to the 6-foot-1 James. Up to that point, she had dominated the Missy Gators for 17 points. She only had two points in the second half to finish with 19.

“She just rolled her ankle and hit her head, too,” Johnson said. “She’ll be all right. She’s got two days to get ready for the next game.”

VHS coach Barbara Hartzog, who completed her third season with the Missy Gators, said James proved too tough early.

“She controlled the boards. We just didn’t rebound. The rebounds killed us and we missed opportunities,” Hartzog said.

The Missy Gators did get a pair of 3-pointers from Kamiko Martin and Alexus Stirgus to take a brief lead at 10-7. James, though, completed an 11-point quarter to put Callaway ahead to stay at 15-12. It was 33-20 at the half.

Any hopes of a VHS comeback were dashed when Callaway opened the third quarter with a 12-0 run to go up 45-20. A Martin 3-pointer finally ended the VHS drought with 4:22 left in the quarter.

The Missy Gators fell behind 64-35 when Hartzog began clearing her bench in the final three minutes.

Stirgus led VHS with 14 points. Callaway guards Alisa Ross and Bianco Heard had 13 and 10 points respectively.

Top-seeded Gators gear up for Yazoo

Top-seeded Vicksburg opens tournament action against No. 8 seed Yazoo County today at 5:30 at Lanier. The Gators (24-5) swept the season series from the Panthers.

“I’m just glad we’re on the opposite side of the bracket from Callaway and Lanier,” VHS boys coach Dellie C. Robinson said. “We know we’ve got to win two tough games to reach the finals but at least we don’t have to go through either Callaway or Lanier to get there.”

A win tonight would clinch a spot in next week’s satellite round. A top finish would have the Gators at home next Tuesday.