Missy Gators fall to defending Class 3A champs|Gators roll over Rangers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Vicksburg Missy Gators made a tough assignment even tougher on Tuesday.

Already up against one of the best teams in the state, they missed easy shots and fell behind early. By the time they got going, it was too late. Raymond, the defending Class 3A champion, had just enough left in the tank to keep the Missy Gators at bay.

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Ole Miss signee Valenica McFarland scored 26 points, Southern Miss signee Janairrika Bland had 18 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks, and Raymond remained undefeated with a 57-44 win over Vicksburg.

Raymond (7-0) had an off night, committing 31 turnovers. Vicksburg was unable to take advantage though, because of its own offensive woes. VHS shot just 29 percent from the field and fell behind by 13 points at halftime. VHS was never able to get closer than seven points in the second half.

Alexus Stirgus led Vicksburg (8-3) with 16 points, and Donyeah Mayfield had 11 points, eight rebounds and five steals.

“We hurt ourselves. We just didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had,” Vicksburg coach Barbara Hartzog said. “It was a good game for us. You’ve got to play the best to move forward. It’ll help us down the road.”

Despite the large halftime deficit, the Missy Gators didn’t wilt. Stirgus scored two baskets during a 6-0 spurt late in the third quarter that pulled VHS within nine. After Raymond pushed the lead back to double digits, the Missy Gators made another late push that cut it to eight, 49-41, with just under three minutes to play.

Mayfield fouled out moments later, however, and the Missy Gators were unable to sustain the surge without one of their biggest offensive weapons.

“As long as we’re maintaining the lead, we’ll take it,” Raymond coach Shay Jackson said. “It’s better than an ugly loss, for sure.”

(B) VHS 88, Raymond 53

Another night, another blowout for the Vicksburg Gators.

Kelsey Howard scored 26 points, Kevin Brown scored 15, and Mychal Ammons had 21 points and eight rebounds, and Vicksburg (9-1) shook off a sluggish start to pound Raymond (3-5).

The Gators won their fourth game in a row. Six of their nine wins this season have been by 18 points or more.

“If we can improve on defense and get better, there’s no telling where this team can end up,” VHS coach Dellie C. Robinson said.

Raymond started strong, but quickly faded. Brown hit a 3-pointer and Ammons reached over the top of a defender to put back a miss during an 8-0 run that ended the first quarter. Vicksburg continued the run through the first half of the second quarter and ended up outscoring the Rangers 19-4 over a six-minute span.

The run erased a 14-9 Raymond lead, and propelled Vicksburg to a 42-27 advantage at halftime. VHS outscored Raymond 52-26 in the second and third quarters. For the game, the Gators shot 50 percent from the field and were 10-for-20 from 3-point range.


Contact Ernest Bowker at ebowker@vicksburgpost.com