Gators lose Ammons, still win Classic title

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 9, 2008

Clutch free throw shooting and a great long-distance inbound pass paved Vicksburg’s way to the Vicksburg-Warren Classic title with a hard-fought 58-53 win over Wingfield.

Vicksburg (2-0) won despite losing its top player in sophomore forward Mychal Ammons to an ankle injury late in the first quarter. Kelsey Howard, a junior forward, stepped up. He hit two free throws with 15.1 seconds left and then jammed a game-sealing dunk on a court-length pass 10 seconds later.

“That’s a play I’ve been running the last 10 years,” VHS coach Dellie C. Robinson said. “It works every time, if you don’t have a defender covering the middle of the floor.”

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Wingfield coach Herman Sanders blamed youth for the defensive lapse.

“We’re real young. I’ve got seven sophomores. We didn’t rotate over and left it wide open,” Sanders said.

The Gators appeared on their way to an easy win as Ammons came out and dropped three straight 3-pointers to spark Vicksburg to a 19-8 lead. But then on a baseline cut, Ammons turned his ankle with a minute left in the quarter and did not return.

“It’s swollen up pretty big. We’ll have it X-rayed and see where he is,” Robinson said. Vicksburg hosts Madison Central on Tuesday night.

Robinson, though, liked how his young guards responded. Three of them were on the floor in the final quarter as Wingfield cut it to two, 51-49, with 1:37 seconds left.

“I had no choice but to play them and they came through and made some plays,” Robinson said of guards Roosevelt Harris, Darius Williams and Dominique Brown.

Harris had six of his 10 points in the third quarter as the Gators struggled after leading 31-20 at the half. Brown hit a 3-pointer and three free throws to keep the Gators in the lead at 39-35 after three quarters.

Howard’s 3-point play with 3:30 left put VHS up 50-43 but two baskets by Wingfield’s Chris Johnson got it back to 50-47. Darius Williams then hit two free throws with 27.4 seconds left to get the lead to five at 54-49.

Denzell Erves had nine points and a team-high nine rebounds while Maurice Williams had seven points and eight rebounds.

Wingfield (2-1) was led by Johnson with 16 and Tracy Jackson had 14.

(B) Port Gibson 69, WC 59

Kadeem Fleming hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter to lead Port Gibson (2-1) to the consolation trophy of the Vicksburg-Warren Classic  Saturday afternoon at WC.

Fleming, who had just one point at the half, finished with 14. Dominique Ratliff stepped up in Fleming’s absence, scoring 16 of his game-best 20 points to lead the Blue Waves. Port Gibson led just 35-34 at the half but Fleming’s treys helped Port Gibson go up 11 at 53-42 by the end of the third quarter.

WC coach Jesse Johnson said it was a lack of depth that hurt his club.

“We’re just short-handed. It’s hard to play the same six, but we’ve got Danny Bunch, who will give us a big body while Joe Harris will give some aggression,” Johnson said of the two Viking football players who will join the team Monday. WC (1-2) doesn’t play again until next Saturday against Vicksburg.

Y’Tarrius Goldsberry had 17 points to lead the Vikings while Cory Davis had 16 and Dino Harris chipped in 13.