Titans shock Gators in three overtimes|Prep basketball

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 3, 2008

RIDGELAND — The first buzzer brought anticipation.

With the second came exasperation and with the third, marvel. It might have been a good thing Vicksburg and Ridgeland didn’t play into a fourth overtime Tuesday night. It was getting difficult to wring any more excitement or superlatives from this one.

Ridgeland overcame an eight-point deficit heading into the fourth quarter, hit two last-second shots to extend the game into a second and then a third overtime, then finally put Vicksburg away with a big run in the third extra period to secure a 49-43 victory.

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“I ain’t never been in a game this long. It was fun to be in, but it wasn’t good because we didn’t come out with the ‘W’,” said senior Vicksburg guard Maurice Williams, who led the Gators with 15 points. “It hurts to lose like that. Now it’s over with, done with. We’ll see them back in Vicksburg.”

Donovan Ross led Ridgeland (9-0, 1-0 Division 3-4A) with 14 points, while Jamaal McCoy had eight points, nine rebounds and three steals. Kelsey Howard scored 12 points for Vicksburg (3-2, 0-1), and Denzell Erves contributed seven points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots.

The Gators led 31-22 with three minutes left in the third quarter, then went ice cold. They scored just three points in the last 11 minutes, and one in the entire fourth quarter.

That allowed Ridgeland to chip away at the lead, and the Titans tied it at 33 on a basket by Ross with 2:30 to play. Williams and LeAntwan Luckett each hit a free throw in the next 45 seconds, and the game went into overtime tied at 34.

“We just couldn’t make free throws. That killed us,” Williams said. Vicksburg was 1-for-4 from the foul line in the fourth quarter, and 0-for-3 from the field.

In the first overtime, Williams put the Gators ahead 39-38 on a layup with 14.2 seconds remaining. Luckett was fouled as time expired, though, and hit the first free throw to tie it again. He missed the second, sending the game to another overtime.

Vicksburg coach Dellie C. Robinson argued the call to no avail, and pumped his fist at halfcourt as Luckett’s second free throw clanged off the rim.

Williams hit two free throws with 46 seconds to play in the second overtime to give Vicksburg a 41-39 lead, but Ridgeland came up with another buzzer-beater.

With five seconds left, the ball was inbounded to McCoy under the basket. He hit a quick turnaround shot from the right block that banked off the glass and in to tie it again with one second on the clock.

In the third overtime, Ridgeland finally seized the momentum. Roosevelt Harris got the first basket of the period on a steal and layup with 2:45 to play, only to see McCoy answer with a tying jumper on the Titans’ next trip up the floor.

Ninety seconds later, Jamal Hester’s putback layup put the Titans ahead, and they were off to the races. McCoy hit another short turnaround shot similar to the one at the end of the second overtime to make it 47-43 with 31.2 seconds to play, and Howard rimmed out a 3-pointer for the Gators on the other end. Ross capped the game-ending, 8-0 run with a pair of free throws.

Vicksburg girls edge Ridgeland

Kamiko Martin watched in horror as Ridgeland’s Kendra Hobson stole her errant pass and ran the other way for an apparent game-sealing layup.

A couple minutes later, Martin more than made up for it.

Martin came up with a steal and layup of her own, followed by a go-ahead free throw with 9.3 seconds to play, as Vicksburg rallied from a five-point deficit in the final minute to beat Ridgeland.

Martin, a senior guard, finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and four steals, and Alexus Stirgus scored 16 points for the Missy Gators (3-2, 1-0). After Hobson’s layup gave Ridgeland a 52-47 lead with about 40 seconds to play, Stirgus rushed back up the floor and drilled a 3-pointer that started the VHS comeback.


Contact Ernest Bowker at ebowker@vicksburgpost.com.