VHS, WC have goals at tourney

Published 12:05 pm Monday, December 27, 2010

The Mendenhall Holiday Tournament that begins Tuesday will provide a key opportunity for both Warren Central and Vicksburg’s boys basketball teams.

For Warren Central (6-6), the three-day tournament is a chance to stop a three-game losing streak. For Vicksburg (9-3), it’s a chance to build depth.

WC coach Jesse Johnson was glum after his team committed 18 second-half turnovers to lose to Murrah 74-64 at last week’s Ridgeland Holiday Classic.

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“We just had a big letdown,” Johnson said. “We had turnover after turnover. What we need is some senior leadership.”

WC would like to find some at Mendenhall. The Vikings open with Florence, a team they beat last year, in Tuesday night at 7:45. On Wednesday afternoon, they get the host Mendenhall Tigers, then finish up with another matinee against Lawrence County on Thursday.

“We need to get our groove back,” WC point guard Cory Davis said. “We haven’t played that well for a while. We’ve just had poor execution.”

For Vicksburg coach Dellie C. Robinson, the tournament is a chance to address the team’s main weakness — depth. Although the Gators have played well, they’ve largely stuck with the same seven-man rotation for most of the season.

The lack of depth has cost the Gators in all three of their losses. In a 61-53 loss to top-ranked Meridian on Dec. 20 in Ridgeland, the Gators were within four with two minutes to play but three straight turnovers ended their upset bid. Earlier this season against Provine, foul trouble limited their options and ultimately contributed to a one-point defeat.

Vicksburg will get a stern test in its tournament opener Tuesday against Port Gibson (11-1), and will also face Lawrence County and Mendenhall.

“We want to use this tournament to work on our depth,” Robinson said. “If you look at the three games we lost, a lack of depth was a big factor. We’ve been playing just seven guys and when we get in these big games, they wear down at the end.”