Ammons’ bucket beats No. 2 Brandon|Prep basketball

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 31, 2009

FLOWOOD — Mychal Ammons drifted from the free throw line to the basket as the long lob pass floated toward him. In one motion, Vicksburg High’s star player caught the ball, juggled it ever so slightly and flipped it through the net.

After the buzzer sounded, another long moment passed before the points finally went on the scoreboard. The play that seemed to take forever capped a wild comeback that happened in the blink of an eye.

Ammons’ tip-in at the buzzer finished off Vicksburg’s comeback from 10 points down with a little over two minutes to play, and gave the Gators a heartstopping 64-62 victory over No. 2 Brandon in the championship game of the Northwest Rankin Holiday Tournament.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“It’s amazing,” said Ammons, who scored 20 points. “It’s worth it, all the hard work. To keep fighting back and come out with a win is a great feeling.”

Kelsey Howard led Vicksburg (14-2) with 23 points and Dominique Brown had 15. D.J. Evans scored 23 points for Brandon (15-3), while 6-foot-9 forward Tyler Adams had 19 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots.

The Gators actually trailed by 19 points, 47-28, midway through the third quarter. They dug themselves a huge hole by missing their first seven shots of the second half and Brandon went on a 13-0 run. A layup by Brown started a 9-0 run that got the Gators back in it, but they didn’t get closer than five points until the final surge.

Brandon kept Vicksburg at arm’s length and took a 61-51 lead on a basket by Adams with 4:10 left. That score held for more than two minutes, until Ammons hit a pair of free throws and Brandon tacked on a free throw of its own.

With 1:30 to play, Ammons stole the ball at halfcourt and drove in for a layup, then Howard hit a 3-pointer to cut it to 62-58. Another Howard layup with 34 seconds left made it a one-possession game, and Ammons put back a missed 3-pointer by Roosevelt Harris with six seconds to go to tie it.

“We started turning the ball over. We had a couple inexperienced guys on the perimeter that aren’t used to handling the ball,” Brandon coach Fredrick Barnes said. “When they took our point guard away, those other guys made mental errors.”

One of Brandon’s best players made the biggest mistake, though.

Evans, the team’s point guard, was called for traveling as he brought the ball across halfcourt following Ammons’ tying basket. The miscue gave Vicksburg the ball back with two seconds to play.

After a timeout, Brown tossed a long lob to Ammons at the basket. Ammons caught it and threw it in the hoop as the buzzer sounded. After a brief discussion the officials ruled he got it off before the final horn.

Contact Ernest Bowker at