Vicksburg falls in OT at Clinton

Published 12:10 am Saturday, January 29, 2011

CLINTON — Turnovers and missed free throws doomed Vicksburg’s chances of grabbing the top seed in the Division 4-6A tournament.

The top spot will go to Clinton after the Lady Arrows pulled out a 56-52 overtime win over the Missy Gators on Friday night.

VHS coach Barbara Hartzog said she hopes her team will get one more shot at Clinton (15-10, 4-2 Division 4-6A) in the division tournament. The Missy Gators (10-11, 4-2) lost the top seed after being swept by Clinton and will have to play archrival Warren Central in the first round.

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“Hopefully, we can get them in the tournament,” Hartzog said.

The Missy Gators were much sharper against Clinton than they were in a loss to Natchez on Tuesday. Standout senior Donyeah Mayfield got some help on the offensive end with seven other players scoring., but Vicksburg still could not close it out in regulation. The Missy Gators missed two key free throws in the final 1:50 and had three crucial turnovers that prevented them from getting a shot in the final 42 seconds.

“We just didn’t execute at the end,” Hartzog said. “We made some lackadaisical passes.”

Clinton coach Felicia Lofton credited her defense.

“We fought to the end,” Lofton said. “We were down 20-7 early but I thought we came back with our press and finally heated up with our shooting.”

Vicksburg was up 48-46 when Mayfield went to the line with a two-shot foul with 1:50 to go in regulation. She made one of two for a three-point lead.

Clinton got a basket from Brianna Price and two free throws from Avila Hughes following one of Vicksburg’s 22 turnovers to grab the lead at 50-49. It was the seventh lead change of the fourth quarter.

Vicksburg’s Aleeshah Smith got a two-shot foul opportunity and made one to tie it at 50 with 43.4 seconds left.

Clinton’s Cortni Cooper, who had a game-high 26 points, missed a driving layup with 22 seconds left, but Vicksburg threw away the inbounds pass. Clinton missed the layup, but picked off another errant pass before the Missy Gators could get up floor.

In overtime, Clinton got two free throws each from Hughes and Cooper to go up four. Mayfield, who had 17 points and 19 rebounds, missed both ends of a two-shot foul while the rest of the team missed its last four shots from the field.

Shanequa Hill had 12 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals for Vicksburg. Hughes had 13 for Clinton and Price had 10.

(B) VHS 55, Clinton 33

Clinton pulled to within 10 points, at 42-32 with 6:55 to play, but South Alabama signee Mychal Ammons scored the next six points and the Gators held the Arrows without a field goal the rest of the way.

The win capped an unbeaten 6-0 run through the division for the Gators (20-3, 6-0), who will host the Division 4-6A tournament in two weeks.

Ammons finished with 25 points, eight rebounds and five steals. Willie Gibbs had 10 points, nine coming in the first quarter as Vicksburg jumped out to a 23-8 lead.

VHS coach Dellie C. Robinson credited his team’s defense that held the Arrows (13-7, 3-3) to just 13 made field goals.

“This team plays defense,” Robinson said. “They will get after it. It’s been one of the keys for us all season.”

Clinton’s Kavonte Younger had 23 points in the first meeting at Vicksburg. He had just four on Friday. Donell Williams led the Arrows with seven points.