Lady Waves stun Missy Gators in hoops

Published 12:05 pm Thursday, December 30, 2010

MENDENHALL — It was the kind of start about which basketball coaches wake up in the middle of the night sweating, then share with colleagues in hushed tones at coaching clinics.

Nothing, except for a few lonely free throws, was going in the basket for Port Gibson. Layups clanged, 3-pointers bricked and mid-range jumpers had no roll.

Ten in a row. Fifteen. Twenty.

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And yet, through it all, the Lady Waves were keeping Vicksburg in range. By the time they worked out of their funk, they were able to make a run and still had the confidence at the end to hit a last-minute shot and escape with a victory.

Chicurial Hill hit a go-ahead jumper from the foul line with 9 seconds remaining Wednesday, allowing Port Gibson to beat Vicksburg 52-48 at the Mendenhall Holiday Tournament. Port Gibson won despite missing its first 23 shots and wasting a late lead. The Lady Waves (11-3) didn’t make a field goal until Hill sank a layup 50 seconds into the second quarter, yet still managed to take a 19-17 lead into halftime.

“I think that inspired us, coming back and taking the lead at halftime,” Port Gibson coach Harold Liggans said. “We had too many unforced errors late. The key part is they found a way to win.”

Vicksburg (6-6), meanwhile, seemed to find a way to lose. Even though Port Gibson was 0-for-20 from the field in the first quarter, the Missy Gators led only 12-3 at the end of it.

“The first half, we had opportunities and we just weren’t making them. We handled the press well, then we just couldn’t finish,” Vicksburg coach Barbara Hartzog said.

After its dreadful start, Port Gibson hit 40 percent of its shots the rest of the game. The Lady Waves led by as many as 10 points late in the third quarter, but still needed some late heroics by Hill to pull out the win.

Vicksburg scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to get back in it, and the teams traded baskets until the final minute. Finally, with less than 30 seconds to play, Shavadrea Farris sank a layup in transition to tie the game at 48. Port Gibson came right back, though, with Hill driving most of the court before putting up her jumper to give the Lady Waves a 50-48 lead with 9 seconds left.

Andreshae Spiller then stole the inbounds pass, was fouled, and hit two free throws with nine-tenths of a second left to seal it.

Spiller finished with 13 points and seven rebounds for Port Gibson, and Kentija Tarleton scored 19 points. Donyeah Mayfield led Vicksburg with 15 points and 17 rebounds, while Shanequa Hill added 11 points and five assists.