Arrows down Gators for top seed Missy Gators overpower Lady Arrows

Published 12:06 am Saturday, January 28, 2012

Clinton took all the guesswork out of the Division 3-6A championship picture.

The Arrows went on a 10-0 run late in the third quarter to take the lead for good, and closed out the game with solid defense and some sharp foul shooting to beat Vicksburg 48-41 on Friday night.

It was worth far more than a single victory to Clinton. Because Warren Central is ineligible for the postseason, Clinton (20-5, 5-1 Division 3-6A) earned a first-round bye in the now-three-team division tournament and a guaranteed berth in the Class 6A North State satellite game.

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Vicksburg (9-13, 3-3) fell to the No. 3 seed with Friday’s loss and will play Greenville-Weston in a first-round elimination game at the division tournament on Feb. 7. The tournament is at Clinton.

“That was Clinton’s first 20-win season in a while. It puts Vicksburg and Greenville in that first game and they have to fight it out,” Clinton coach Clay Norton said. “It automatically puts us hosting or playing in the satellite game. There’s a lot of rewards for this one.”

The game was close the whole way, but Vicksburg appeared to have the upper hand in the third quarter. It led 29-25 with about three minutes to go, then went into a funk. A series of turnovers and transition baskets by Clinton led to the 10-0 run and Donell Williams scored at the buzzer to give the Arrows a 35-29 lead.

De’Andre King snapped the Gators’ dry spell with a jumper in the opening moments of the fourth quarter, but they never led again.

“We missed a couple shots in the lane that could’ve kept us in it. They’re so quick with their guards that they got the rebound and were able to run out,” Vicksburg coach Dellie C. Robinson said. “Our biggest problem is inside. We can’t score or defend inside. It’s hurt us all year.”

Clinton went 4-for-6 from the foul line in the last 30 seconds to stay comfortably in front, and on one possession, its defense forced VHS to burn 20 seconds off the clock before finding an open shot.

Javis Dixon scored on a layup with 10.7 seconds to go to cut it to 46-41, but Anfernee Felton and Domonic Davis each split a pair of free throws to close it out.

Davis finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds to lead Clinton. King and De’Angelo Richardson each scored 11 points for Vicksburg.

(G) Vicksburg 54, Clinton 44

Vicksburg got a glimpse of what it hopes is a very bright future Friday night.

Eighth-grader Karry Callahan had 15 points and eight rebounds in her varsity debut, freshman Ama Arkoful scored 21 points and the Missy Gators (11-11, 3-3) beat Clinton (5-18, 1-5) to secure the No. 2 seed in the Division 3-6A Tournament.

Alivia Hughes led Clinton with 19 points.

Vicksburg will face Warren Central in the first round of the tournament on Feb. 7, while Clinton will face Greenville-Weston.

Unlike the two previous meetings with WC, which the teams split, Vicksburg will have a new weapon.

The 5-foot-9 Callahan entered Friday’s game at the start of the second quarter and gave the Missy Gators an immediate spark. She scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds in the period to lift her team to a 26-21 halftime lead.

Later, she had two key steals in the fourth quarter and combined with Arkoful to hit 7 of 8 free throws in the last 53 seconds to close out the victory. Vicksburg’s 11-point lead in the final minute was the biggest of the game for either team.

“She’s got a great future if she’ll keep working hard,” VHS coach Barbara Hartzog said of Callahan. “She brought some energy. The girls supported her and that helps a lot. We needed some energy.”