Gators return to form|Vicksburg stays alive with win over Shannon

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 18, 2009

David WheelerFor The Vicksburg Post

SHANNON – In the battle between size (Vicksburg) vs. quickness (Shannon), there’s no substitute for height.

Just ask the Red Raiders.

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Class 4A North State tournament, at Callaway H.S.

Thursday, 4 p.m. – Vicksburg vs. Noxubee County

The Vicksburg Gators had just enough size to give the Raiders too much trouble.

The visiting Gators never led until the fourth quarter, but that was the perfect period for them on the way to a 50-39 victory Tuesday against the Shannon Red Raiders in the first round of the Class 4A North State Tournament.

“We played well in the first half, and adjusted to their height well,” Shannon coach Cedric Brim said. “We just didn’t do a good job in the second half.”

Shannon (16-11) did a more than solid job in the first half.

Danardo Watkins scored eight points in the first quarter, including a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the period to help the Raiders to an 18-10 lead. The pace stayed in favor of Shannon in the second quarter, which missed on some opportunities to increase its lead, but still, the Raiders held a 24-18 advantage at the break.

“We didn’t rebound as well as we should have in the second half,” Brim said. “When they’re as tall as Vicksburg, you sometime take shots you usually don’t take.”

Vicksburg (20-9) post players Denzell Erves and Chris Miller were just enough of a deterrent to Shannon’s offensive penetration and work on the glass to slow the pace down in the second half. That helped the visitors close the margin to 32-30 entering the final quarter.

There the Gators took their first lead on a Mychal Ammons free throw with 6:15 to play at 35-34. Shannon never led again.

Shannon was as close as 40-38 with 4:06 remaining following two Alex Thornton free throws, but that was the last time the Raiders were within a possession of the lead. Vicksburg made six free throws in the closing two minutes to help clinch the victory.

“We fought real hard tonight after the first quarter,” Vicksburg coach Dellie C. Robinson said. “We tried to send Shannon inside, where they would have trouble with our size.”

Watkins had 18 points to pace the Shannon offense, while Ammons hit 18 to lead Vicksburg.


David Wheeler writes sports for the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal