Ice cold Gators|Vicksburg falls in state tournament

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 26, 2009

JACKSON — Judging by the disparity in the final shooting numbers, Vicksburg probably should have gotten beaten about the same as the first meeting with St. Stanislaus.

Instead the Gator defense gave them ample opportunities thanks to 20 Rock-a-chaw turnovers, but they could not convert on the offensive end. St. Stanislaus, meanwhile, didn’t take many shots, they just made them went it counted and the end result was a 45-32 decision in the Class 4A State Tournament Wednesday night at the Mississippi Coliseum.

Stanislaus (26-4) made 17 of 25 from the field for a blistering 75 percent. Vicksburg, on the other hand, made just 11 of 46 attempts for an ice-cold 23.9 percent.

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For Vicksburg coach Dellie C. Robinson, the game was all about making baskets.

“We couldn’t put it in the hole. Mike (Ammons) was sick all week but we couldn’t get Kelsey (Howard) going. We just couldn’t get it done. We tried everything and nothing worked. I felt if we could go inside we’d have a chance, but we couldn’t score inside,” Robinson said.

“This was very disappointing, but they are a good team,” said Gator senior forward Maurice Williams of St. Stanislaus, which advances to play South State champ Forest Hill Tuesday. “They were very disciplined and made wise decisions, while we took too many bad shots.”

About the only things Vicksburg did well was force turnovers and collect fouls. Those two things nearly brought the Gators back late in the third quarter.

Rock-a-chaw point guard Pedro Maciel picked up his fourth foul with 3:30 to go in the third quarter with Stanislaus holding a 30-19 lead. Maciel hit six of his seven attempts from the field to that point and was the game’s top scorer with 15 points.

“We were in big foul trouble with Pedro and (Thomas) Carmargo with four each,” Stanislaus coach Jay Ladner said. “We had to go to a zone out of necessity. But we did a great job in it. We were just fortunate Vicksburg had a bad shooting night.”

The Gators did manage to put two shots together when Jeremy Squire knocked down a 3-pointer, the only one the Gators made for the whole game. The shot was followed by the sixth Stanislaus turnover in the quarter which set up a Kelsey Howard bucket from 12 feet that cut the deficit to six at 30-24. Another Rock-a-chaw turnover gave Vicksburg a chance to make it a four-point game with under 30 seconds left in the quarter. Squire took a 3-pointer, but it was short and the rebound skipped out of bounds. Stanislaus reserve guard Brandon Cobb hit an off-balance 3-pointer at the horn to put the Rocks back up nine. The dagger was a death blow to the Gators’ hopes.

“That was it right there,” Robinson said.

Cobb’s shot ended the third quarter at 33-24. Raymond Pittman kept the pressing Gators at bay. Two straight times, Pittman was able to find Daniel Grieves for easy baskets.

When that wasn’t open, he was able to find Bryan Lynch who knocked down all four of his free throws, the last coming with a minute left that made it 45-30.

Vicksburg’s hopes, however, were probably sunk in the first quarter. They took 15 shots in the first quarter and made just two. With each miss, Stanislaus scored on its end to take a 14-4 lead after one quarter. Ammons, who was battling a cold, managed to hit his first two shots of the second quarter as the Gators climbed back into the game. They were down just 16-13 when Maciel found Grieves on an inbounds for an 18-13 lead. Maurice Williams was then called for a charge on the Gators’ last possession of the half. Grieves made an excellent kick-out to Maciel who nailed a 3-pointer with a second left for a 21-13 halftime lead.


Contact Jeff Byrd at