Port Gibson sinks McComb|Ratliff pours in career-high 37 points to lead Blue Waves

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 21, 2009

PORT GIBSON — McComb’s plan to box-and-one Kadeem Fleming didn’t work out so well. Fleming just passed off to a red-hot Dominique Ratliff.

And when Ratliff got tired, the Blue Waves’ 7-foot-2 center Jamarious Sykes finished off the Tigers with his best half of basketball in his two years at Port Gibson. Ratliff fired in a career-high 37 points while Sykes scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, all coming in the second half as the Blue Waves drowned the visiting Tigers 98-79 Tuesday night.

“I was in the zone,” Ratliff said. He made 9 of 11 shots in the first half and then added six more baskets in the third quarter before taking a break. Port Gibson (19-3, 8-1 in Division 7-4A) had a 21-point lead at 68-47.

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McComb (16-6) responded with a 9-2 run with Ratliff resting to cut the deficit to 14 at 70-56 going into the fourth quarter. When Ratliff reentered to start the fourth, the Blue Waves had a new plan — get the ball to their big man — Sykes.

“We fed him the ball,” Port Gibson coach Kim Windom said.

If Sykes didn’t score off a feed, he was putting back in missed shots. He had seven baskets in the fourth quarter, four off offensive rebounds to thwart the Tigers’ comeback plans. Sykes dunked with 4:02 left to put the Blue Waves back up by 22 at 86-64.

“It meant a lot to me to have this good of a game in my last one here,” Sykes said of his Senior Night performance. “This was my best game here.”

“He didn’t feel too comfortable early in the game, so we just sat him out the first half,” Windom said. “McComb came out in a box-and-one on Kadeem and we tried to run him off picks, but then he just started getting the ball to Dominique.”

“We kind of had a change of plans,” Ratliff said. Normally the point guard, Ratliff took on Fleming’s role as the lead gunner while Fleming ran the offense. Fleming had just seven points but he had a game-best 10 assists and seven steals.

“They were leaving me open, and I was just knocking down shots,” Ratliff said. He ended the game making 17-of-22 shots.

As a team, Port Gibson shot 66 percent from the floor with an amazing 45 made shots out of 68 taken. McComb, which tried to keep up with some fine perimeter shooting, ran out of gas in the last five minutes. The Tigers made nine 3-pointers in the second half and had 11 for the game.

McComb led 7-2 when Ratliff began converting baskets off steals from Fleming. Four times, the pair ran the fastbreak and the buckets pushed the Blue Waves into a lead they never gave back.

Port Gibson closed out the first half with five straight 3-pointers, the last three coming from reserve forward Jarvis Sims to make it 46-32 at the half.

McComb was led by LaDarius White with 20 points while Tori Ferguson had 17 followed by Dario Holloway with 13 and Julius Erving had 10.

McComb girls beat Port Gibson, 51-36

Portia Craft tossed in 18 points to lead the Lady Tigers past the Port Gibson girls. McComb used a 21-11 third quarter to go up 40-28. Rajee McDonald led Port Gibson with 11 points.


Contact Jeff Byrd at jbyrd@vicksburgpost.com.