Lady Vike rally falls short

Published 11:25 am Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The baskets at Warren Central are regulation, which means two basketballs will fit in them side by side.

But on Tuesday against visiting Clinton, the basket continued to shrink for the Lady Vikes. And shrink. And shrink some more.

In the end, the Lady Arrows escaped with a 51-44 victory that left WC pondering what could’ve been.

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The shame of it was that WC, even without injured center Shegredda Shorter, had a chance to win at the end.

In the early two quarters, things got physical as neither team could establish any offensive rhythm and both clawed and scrapped for every loose ball.

The Lady Arrows closed out the second quarter with a 6-2 run to take a 23-18 lead into the half. In the third quarter, WC drew no closer than five and Selena Slater hit a jumper and two free throws to give Clinton a 41-32 lead.

“I try to instill in our girls that we’ve got to minimize our mental mistakes,” WC coach Jackie Martin said. “Missing wide-open layups was something we couldn’t do. With the way our shooting is, we’ve got to take advantage of any transition opportunities and we spotted them 10 or 12 points on just layups.”

With the Lady Vikes struggling, a comeback appeared a forlorn hope. But Clinton’s offense went cold and the Lady Vikes cashed in at the free throw line, hitting 4 of 6 to whittle down the deficit to 45-42 after Alexis Daniels swished a pair with three minutes left.

On the next Clinton possession, Symone Stamps intercepted an errant pass and fed Daniels underneath the bucket for an easy layup that got the crowd involved and cut the deficit to one with 2 minutes and change remaining.

But that’s as close as WC (8-14, 2-3) got as the offense went scoreless in the final three minutes.

The Lady Arrows (5-17, 1-4) hit just enough of their free throws to maintain breathing space and Terri Shumpert hit a layup late to ice the victory.

Rolanda Lovette was the only WC player in double figures with 12 points.

Alivia Hughes and Slater paced Clinton with 15 points apiece.

(B) Clinton 54, WC 47

WC fans could’ve thought Tuesday’s first half was a young Vikings team turning the corner. Leading scorer Kourey Davis was benched with foul trouble early, picking up two quick ones, but the Vikings managed to keep a bigger and stronger Clinton club at bay, down only 25-24 at the break.

But around that corner was a minefield.

The Arrows outscored the Vikings 17-10 in the third quarter and held off a late rally to improve to 19-5, 4-1 in Division 3-6A.

“We really struggled to get a stop and on offense, people weren’t making shots, we were getting bumped and our guys got easily frustrated,” WC coach Chareck Cable said. “We didn’t do a good job of finishing our shots around the basket. Our guards need to learn how to play against a zone.”

A tough zone defense and mastery on the glass proved the difference. WC mounted a rally after Eric Howard swished a pair of free throws and Davis converted a floater in the lane,

cutting the deficit to 52-46 with 18.6 second left to play. But Davis missed 1 of 2 free throws and WC couldn’t mount a serious threat in its last two possessions.

“We had an awful first and second quarter and really, an awful last three minutes,” Clinton coach Clay Norton said. “I was proud of our kids for sticking in there, playing hard and we made a couple of shots when we needed to.”

Davis paced WC (9-13, 0-5) with 13 points and Devon Johnson added 11.

Marcus Washington led Clinton with 18 points, while Domonic Davis added 14.