Warren Central falls in JPS tourney championship|Caples scores 31, but Lady Vikes lose first game of season, 47-41

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2008

JACKSON — Forest Hill had little success this summer against the Warren Central Lady Vikes, but the regular season is another story.

The Lady Patriots won their fourth straight against Warren Central over a three-year span. Tuesday night’s 47-41 win was definitely the biggest as Forest Hill bagged the Jackson Public Schools/Pepsi Tournament championship at Jackson State’s Lee Williams Athletic Center.

To see Warren Central tournament video, click here.

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The loss snapped a 14-game win streak to start the season for coach Donny Fuller’s Lady Vikes. He praised the job his good friend, Tommy Groves, did in getting Forest Hill (13-2) ready.

“Give Forest Hill credit. They deserved to win. I tried to tell our girls that nobody knows us better than Forest Hill. We played them five times last summer and we won the five that don’t count. I know they’ve now won the last three that do,” Fuller said.

Forest Hill swept WC last season, including a win in the Red Carpet Classic. They also won at WC in the 2006 season when JPS/Pepsi Tournament MVP Courtney Marbra was just a sophomore.

Marbra played big during the crucial stretch of the fourth quarter to douse a Lady Vike comeback. She scored 10 of her team high 14 points in the final quarter, eight of which came in a decisive 10-0 run after WC had regained the lead.

“We’ve had a hard time scoring at times, that’s why we put a lot of emphasis on our defense,” Groves said. “I know Courtney was the MVP but Bianca Powell and Kristin Newsome deserve to be on the All-Tournament team for the job they did on two of the best scoring players in the state.”

Those would be Louisiana Tech signee Sha’Kayla Caples and senior point guard Karnina Bunch. Caples showed up, rallying WC from a 12-point, third quarter deficit, by scoring 15 of her game-best 31 points in the quarter. Bunch, however, struggled against the constant pressure of Powell. She had just four points and her only made field goal came with 1:52 left in the game that made it 45-39.

“We had some great defense there on her,” Groves said. “Caples still put on a show, but our defense enabled us to keep the score low.”

The last of Caples’ seven baskets in the third quarter pulled WC to within one at 33-32. A putback by Kryshna Howard gave the Lady Vikes their first lead since midway through the first quarter at 34-33 just seconds into the fourth quarter.

Caples appeared to make it a three-point lead when she knocked down a runner after a steal but the basket was waved off because of a walk.

Marbra answered following the turnover to put Forest Hill ahead to stay with seven minutes left. Caples was called for a second walk, on nearly the same stop-start move and again Marbra converted to up the Lady Patriots’ edge to 37-34.

Two free throws by Marbra and an offensive putback by Tanesha Hobson and Marbra completed Forest Hill’s 10-0 run that made it 43-34 with 2:30 to play.

Newsome scored 10 of her 12 points in the opening half to stake Forest Hill to a 22-14 lead. The Lady Patriots made nine of 16 shots in the first half while WC (14-1) went an ice-cold 5-for-21. Thanks to Caples, the shooting went up in the second half, but Forest Hill still out-shot WC 51 to 36 percent.


Contact Jeff Byrd at jbyrd@vicksburgpost.com