War Dawgs crush Jackson Prep|Prep basketball

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 20, 2009

CLINTON — Hinds AHS came into the Martin Luther King Day Rumble in the South as one of the highest scoring teams in Mississippi.

Jackson Prep saw firsthand as the War Dawgs hung 90 points on the Patriots in a matchup of schools from the Mississippi High School Activities and Mississippi Private School Associations.

Game MVP Erik Burks led the War Dawgs (17-2) with 27 points and 11 rebounds while guard Keeslee Stewart fired in a game-best 30 points as Hinds blitzed Jackson Prep, one of the most storied programs in the MPSA, 90-75 before 1,000 fans in the opening game of the MLK Rumble in the South.

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

Bus problems caused the War Dawgs to arrive late and they had little time to warm-up. Once they did, it was bad news for the Patriots (13-8), who struggled against Hinds’ three-quarter court trap with 25 turnovers.

“We were a little out of sync early, but after that we came out ready to play,” said Burks, as the War Dawgs came roaring back after spotting Jackson Prep a 13-7 lead.

After hitting on five of their first seven shots, Prep missed five of its next six and also made six turnovers against Hinds’ pressure.

Stewart, who did not score in the game’s first seven minutes, scored two quick baskets to help Hinds grab the lead for good at 21-16 by quarter’s end.

Prep continued to have problems against both the War Dawgs’ pressure and the quickness of Stewart, Burks and his cousin, Derek Burks.

“That press got to us,” Prep guard Vic Meena said. “They reminded me a lot of Richland and CM&I, two teams that beat us earlier this year. But Hinds was a little quicker and very well-coached. Their rebounding was outstanding.”

Hinds finished the game with a huge, 44-27, edge on the boards.

“Nineteen offensive rebounds was the difference in the game,” Prep coach David Horner said. “We couldn’t keep them out of the lane.”

Hinds attacked the lane all game, putting up 78 shots and made 42 to finish at 54.7 percent. When they missed, either Eric Burks or Trevis Thomas was there for the rebound. Five of Burks’ 13 baskets came off offensive boards while Thomas had 10 points and eight rebounds for the game.

Stewart and Burks combined for 17 points in the second quarter to extend the War Dawgs’ lead to 47-38 by halftime.

The lead went to 14 on four occasions in the third quarter, the last at 62-48 after Burks converted a layup off one of the several Prep turnovers.

“I just had to keep my focus up,” Burks said after scoring 10 more points in the third quarter. The 27 points was his most since a 30-point outbreak in the War Dawgs’ season-opener, a game Stewart missed because of football.

Down 17, Prep put together one mini run of seven straight points to get the lead down to 10 at 68-58. But a Derek Burks tip-in, followed by two baskets and two free throws by Stewart, handed Hinds’ its largest lead of the game at 84-64 with 3:27 remaining.

“I’ve seen us play better,” Hinds coach Keith Williams said. “We got here late and played okay.”

The win marks Hinds’ second straight MLK Day win over an MPSA school. The War Dawgs beat Madison-Ridgeland Academy last year at MC, 62-55.

“They had the same style as MRA,” said Stewart, who made 13 baskets, along with five steals and five assists. “We had too much athletic ability and just went out and played.”


Contact Jeff Byrd at jbyrd@vicksburgpost.com.