Red Carpet Classic: Missy Gator rally falls short

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 24, 2010

At least one game at Saturday’s Red Carpet Classic reached classic level as Class 6A contender Northwest Rankin needed to withstand a second-half rally by the Vicksburg Missy Gators to take a 66-59 win.

Standout Missy Gator guard Alexus Stirgus put on a brilliant display, scoring a career-high 35 points to lead Vicksburg’s comeback from a 17-point halftime deficit. But the energy used in trying to catch up with the Lady Cougars eventually caught up to Vicksburg in the final minutes.

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“There in the third quarter, the basket seemed like an ocean. Whatever I threw up there, went in,” Stirgus said of her remarkable third quarter when she scored 18 of her 35 points, including three long-range 3-pointers.

Early in the fourth quarter, she made a conventional 3-point play to draw the Missy Gators (13-7) even at 51 with 6:09 left. Unfortunately, the Missy Gators were spent. Northwest (19-5) scored the next six points to regain control of the game.

Vicksburg coach Barbara Hartzog blamed a bad second quarter which saw the Missy Gators score just three points as Northwest rolled out to a 39-22 halftime lead.

“The second quarter killed us. Northwest has a strong team but we kept fighting. We just didn’t get much production from our bench. We need our bench,” Hartzog said.

At least Stirgus earned some admiration from the capacity crowd at Warren Central.

“That was great. To play well in the Classic is great. We just came up short for the game. I hope we get to see them again in the playoffs,” Stirgus said.

The Missy Gator guard did a great job of filling the stat sheet.

Stirgus made 12-of-17 shots and also had seven steals and four assists.

“She stepped up big for us,” Hartzog said.

Donyeah Mayfield had 14 points and 11 rebounds but no other Missy Gator had more than two points or four rebounds.

Taylor Beverly led the Lady Cougars with 25 points. Arkeyla Branch and Andrea Hollis had 12 points each.

(B) Vicksburg 75,

NW Rankin 52

The fifth-ranked Gators got contributions from some folks not named Mychal Ammons and Kelsey Howard in its Red Carpet Classic game with the visiting Northwest Rankin Cougars.

Dominique Brown tossed in 16 points and Kiente Ross had 11 points, six rebounds and three steals as the Gators moved to 20-2 on the season.

Ammons still thrilled the capacity crowd at WC with 14 points and 10 rebounds. His slam off an offensive rebound late in the first quarter brought the day’s best roar from the partisan Gator crowd.

Howard, who missed most of the second and third quarters with fouls, still had 15 points.

“We needed to see how long we could play without him and we got some baskets from Dominque and Kevin Brown,” VHS coach Dellie C. Robinson said.

Northwest was led by Ife Eke with 10 points.


Contact Jeff Byrd at