Missy Gators get best of WC

Published 12:13 am Sunday, January 8, 2012

For the first 27 minutes Saturday, the Warren Central Lady Vikes had just 20 points. They matched that total in the last 5 minutes, but it wasn’t enough.

Vicksburg withstood a furious fourth-quarter comeback by Warren Central to escape with a 44-40 win.

It was a big victory for the Missy Gators, who escaped the basement of the Division 3-6A standings. Vicksburg, which has won four straight games, is now 8-8 overall and 1-2 in the division. The loss was the Lady Vikes’ (8-10, 2-1) first in division play. They had beaten the Missy Gators in their first meeting in December.

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Much like that earlier game, Warren Central struggled to get anything going on offense. It had just six points at the half, trailed 36-20 with 5:18 to go and was still down by 14 with 2:38 left.

Then the Lady Vikes caught fire. Three-pointers by Symone Stamps and Alexis Daniels, sandwiched between a pair of layups by Jazmine Walker and Dawn Tuggle, ignited a 10-0 run that cut the deficit to four, 41-37, with 50 seconds to play.

Vicksburg got a free throw from Kailin Young to take a five-point lead with 44.6 seconds left. Rolanda Lovette then airballed a 3-point attempt with 29.5 seconds left.

The Missy Gators gave the ball right back to the Lady Vikes and Walker’s putback made it 42-39 with 20 seconds remaining. WC drew a five-second call to set up a chance at a tie.

WC coach Jackie Martin-Brown did not get the shot she wanted. The shot by Stamps was rushed. Vicksburg’s Breanna Foy grabbed the rebound and fed Young for the game-sealing basket.

“The last shot wasn’t the best shot we could have had,” Martin-Brown said. “The thing with my team is at times early in games we struggle to score. In the first half, we didn’t execute because they did what they wanted. In the second half, we became much more aggressive and got some shots to drop.”

Vicksburg’s Aleeshah Smith, who helped lead a defensive effort that held WC to 9-of-38 shooting and 16 turnovers through three quarters, said her team should have closed the game out cleanly.

“We got caught up in the moment,” Smith said. “We should have beaten them the first time. We just had to pull together late and get the win.”

Vicksburg used a 1-2-2 zone defense for much of the game and it helped the Missy Gators grab an 18-6 lead at the half.

“It helped us contain the big girl (Shegredda Shorter) and we just wanted to make things as hard for them as we could,” Smith said.

Shorter got Warren Central going in the third quarter by scoring all eight of her points. She finished with 13 rebounds and two assists.

Vicksburg countered by getting fast break baskets from Foy and Smith to keep a 28-20 lead going to the fourth quarter. The Missy Gators hit their first four shots of the period to extend the margin to 36-20 with 5:18 left.

Ama Arkoful led Vicksburg with 12 points and four assists. Smith had nine points, six rebounds and three assists. Young had nine points, eight rebounds and two blocks.

Stamps had nine points to pace WC.