Vicksburg blisters Pontotoc, eyes Ridgeland|[02/22/08]

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 22, 2008

OXFORD — Led by point guard Jonathan Phelps’ 25-points and freshman Mychal Ammons’ 20 points, the Vicksburg Gators advanced to the Class 4A North State Tournament semifinal with a 79-58 win over Pontotoc at Oxford Thursday afternoon.

The win improved the Gators to 28-6 on the season, while the Warriors finished their season at 25-9. Vicksburg is scheduled to play Ridgeland, which defeated Hernando on a last-second shot 62-60, tonight at 6 in the OHS gym.

Phelps led all scorers in the victory. Sophomore forward Kelsey Howard cjipped in 18 points and senior forward John Qualls added 13 points.

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

Vicksburg controlled the tempo thanks to Phelps’ nifty dribbling and speed in the open court.

The Gators led all but one minute of the contest as they scored 17 points in the first quarter and 40 in the first half. Pontotoc got as close as one point twice in the first quarter only to see the Gators jump back ahead by two or three possessions.

“There is no question that he dictated the pace of the game. (Phelps) can score at will, but we like to get a few more folks involved so it makes it a little harder on the defense to get after him,” said veteran Vicksburg High coach Dellie C. Robinson, who on Wednesday was named as an assistant coach for the upcoming Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic in Pelham, Ala.

“I would have liked to see a few more assists for him tonight and make those other guys better than what they are. For us to advance in this tournament, he’s going to have to do that. When you get this far, it’s all about preparation and how you play for 32 minutes.”

The Gators led 17-15 after the first eight minutes, and then stepped on the gas in the second. Vicksburg went on a 13-6 run over the first four minutes of the second quarter to lead 30-23, and then finished the quarter on a 10-7 run to lead 40-30 at the break.

“We’re a fast-break team and anytime we’re out running with the ball in (Phelps’) hands, we’re a tough team to defend,” Robinson said. “We’re not real good in the halfcourt, but we get out and run, we’re a pretty good basketball team.”

While Phelps made the more dazzling plays, Robinson credited the play of Qualls on defense.

“I thought John Qualls played excellent defense on (Jeremy Squire). We knew he was a great shooter and John Qualls stepped up and played huge for us on the defensive end,” Robinson said. “I thought (Ammoms) had a little bit of a tough time in the first quarter, but he stepped up in that second half and played real well.”

Vicksburg continued to build on its double-digit lead in the third quarter as it scored 17 points compared to 11 for Pontotoc. Howard hit two 3-pointers in the third, while Phelps scored nine points.

The Gators led by as many as 16 points during the early portion of the fourth quarter before icing the game at the free throw line.

Xavian Evans led Pontotoc with 13 points, while Torri Ray and James Elzie each scored 12 points each.

Port Gibson 78, FCASH 60

Port Gibson (19-12) pulled off the upset of the 4A South State Tournament by knocking off Forrest County AHS, a team from Brooklyn, Miss. Port Gibson advanced to play host Picayune tonight at 7:30.

Kadeem Fleming and Domanique Ratliff each scored 17 points to pace Port Gibson, while Cortez McGee and Tywon Moore each scored 10 for the Blue Waves.

Port Gibson led by four going into the fourth quarter, but outscored FCAHS 28-14 in the final quarter to turn the close contest into a runaway.

Hinds AHS 82, Bassfield 62

At Forest, Kenderek Washington scored a game-high 26 points, Keeslee Stewart added 16 and JaCorey Wright scored 13 as Hinds AHS blistered Bassfield 82-62. The Bulldogs are scheduled to play Newton today at 6.

Hinds outscored Bassfield 21-9 in the second quarter to hold a 37-23 lead at the half and never looked back.

Today’s gamesPrep Basketball

6 p.m. – VHS vs. Ridgeland

6 p.m. – HInds AHS vs. Newton

7:30 p.m. – P. Gibson vs. Picayune