Gators guarantee third seed in 3-4A

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2009

PEARL — The Vicksburg Gators still have some work to do to clinch the No. 2 seed in the Division 3-4A tournament. For now, though, they’re happy right where they are.

Vicksburg scored 11 of its last 13 points from the foul line and held Pearl to two field goals in the last four minutes Friday night to secure a 57-46 victory. The win ensures the Gators of no worse than the No. 3 seed in the division tournament, which is just as good as being second, coach Dellie C. Robinson said. Either position puts them on the opposite side of the bracket from division leader Callaway.

Vicksburg can still finish second if it beats Yazoo City on Tuesday. Callaway beat Ridgeland 49-43 on Friday.

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“It was a big one for us. One we needed to have,” Robinson said. “We’re away from Callaway. That’s where you want to be. We like our chances.”

Four of Vicksburg’s five starters scored in double figures against Pearl (12-13, 5-7 in division play) and accounted for all but seven points and three rebounds of the team’s totals. Kelsey Howard led the way with 16 points and seven rebounds, Mychal Ammons had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Denzell Erves had 11 points and eight boards, and Maurice Williams scored 10 points.

Fred Coleman led Pearl with 16 points, and Twymond Howard had 11 points and eight rebounds.

The Gators (17-6, 9-4) missed a couple of chances to put the game away in the second half. They started the third quarter with a 6-0 spurt to take a 31-19 lead, but couldn’t push it any further. Pearl never got closer than five points the rest of the game, but was never out of striking distance either.

Then, midway through the fourth quarter, Pearl’s Montel Walters fouled Ammons on a fastbreak. Walters was also whistled for a technical foul for celebrating what he thought was a blocked shot. Vicksburg only hit two of the four resulting free throws, though, and turned it over on the ensuing possession. That left VHS clinging to a 46-38 lead instead of a potential double-digit margin and a huge momentum shift.

“Like I told them, that’s an opportunity to put them away. We make the free throws and we’ve got them,” Robinson said. “You miss the free throws and you leave the door open. That could’ve been huge.”

Those two missed free throws were just about the last ones the Gators missed, though. A driving layup by Howard was their only field goal in the last four minutes, but they went 11-for-14 from the foul line in the same stretch. Pearl hit only a pair of 3-pointers by Walters and Phillip Harvey, and two free throws by Tymond Howard down the stretch, and never made a serious push for the lead.

(G) VHS 72, Pearl 30

Eleven of the 12 players on Vicksburg’s roster scored, and Vicksburg cruised to a rout against winless Pearl (0-22, 0-12).

Shanequa Butler came off the bench to score all of her team-high 14 points in the second half, and Kamiko Martin scored 10 of her 11 points in the first half.

Donyeah Mayfield had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Antoinette Mayfield had eight points and 12 rebounds. The only Missy Gator who didn’t score was Alexis Hall, but she contributed three rebounds, two steals and two assists.

The win ensures the Missy Gators (10-12, 6-7) of no worse than the fifth seed in the Division 3-4A tournament.

They can finish fourth if they beat Yazoo City on Tuesday, but all that would do is change the color of their jerseys in the first-round game. Yazoo City is currently in fourth place, and the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds meet in the first round.

“We play Yazoo City on Tuesday and might have to turn around and play them in district,” Vicksburg coach Barbara Hartzog said.

(G) Greenville 51, WC 46

Karnina Bunch paced the Lady Vikes with 19 points as Warren Central (21-3, 5-1 Division 4-5A) fell in Greenville. Sha’Kayla Caples added 14 points for the Lady Vikes, who have already clinched the top seed for the upcoming 4-5A division tournament at Provine in Jackson.


Contact Ernest Bowker at