Local teams hit the practice floor

Published 11:29 am Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Warren Central boys basketball coach Bruce Robinson put his team through its paces Monday and again Tuesday afternoon with the opening of preseason practice. Monday was the first day schools in the Mississippi High School Activities Association could start practice.

It was a violation of the MHSAA rules on unauthorized practices that landed last year’s coach, Chareck Cable, in trouble. Cable was suspended for the first five games by the MHSAA, but came back and won 10 of the 19 games he coached. Still, it was not enough to save his job and he was fired at the end of a 10-14 season. Robinson, who coached at Greenville-Weston last year and also had a long stint at Clinton, took the job.

“It was unfortunate what happened last year with Coach Cable, but I think he deserves a great deal of credit for the work he did in turning the program around,” Robinson said. “I hope to build on what he started. The one thing we want to do here now, is work hard every day and we want to instill that from day one.”

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Robinson should have a talented team to coach once he gets his football players back. The list includes returning Vicksburg Post Player of the Year Kourey Davis. The 6-foot-5 senior led the Vikings with 17 points per game last year.

“We have still have five playing football and that includes Kourey Davis, and we might not have them for a while depending on how they do in the playoffs,” Robinson said. “We still have 10 varsity players, 15 junior varsity and five ninth graders we are working with. I hope to get in an intra-squad scrimmage done this Saturday to see where we’re at. What we’re banking on is being disciplined.”

Warren Central will play in a jamboree on Oct. 27 in Brandon. The season opener will be on Nov. 3 against Crystal Springs at Florence. On Nov. 8, the Vikings will host defending Class 6A boys champion Jim Hill.

WC girls coach Jackie Martin-Brown has an experienced team coming back that last year rallied to make the Class 6A playoffs for the fourth straight year.

“We have seven seniors including our top three guards, Jazmine Walker, Rolonda Lovette and Alexis Daniels,” Martin-Brown said. “We also get back Taylor Willis, who sat out last year.”

Willis, a 5-foot-11 forward, will be paired with returning 6-foot sophomore sensation Denitra “Shae” Bracey. Together, they will give the Lady Vikes an athletic frontcourt.

“I’m looking forward to having a lot more size with those two,” Martin-Brown said.

WC opens its season Nov. 3 against Murrah at Provine.

Over at Vicksburg High, coach Barbara Hartzog said that freshman guard Kerry Callahan has recovered from knee surgery at the end of last season and is ready to go.

“She was released to practice and has been getting stronger every day,” Hartzog said.

Like WC, the Missy Gators have a strong senior class paced by three-year starting forward Aleeshia Smith. They also return reigning Vicksburg Post Player of the Year, sophomore Ama Arkoful, who averaged 19 points per game.

“We have eight back and it feels pretty good to get back on the floor,” Hartzog said.

Vicksburg will have a jamboree on Oct. 27 in McComb and will open its season Nov. 3 against Williams-Sullivan at Yazoo County.

Coach Dellie C. Robinson’s Gators are missing sophomore stars Edward “Red” Davis and DeAndre King, who are both playing football, but starters Romeo Carter and De’Angelo Richardson are working as Vicksburg prepares for the Nov. 3 opener against Williams-Sullivan.

“We pretty much have the same problem we had last year — we’re short,” Robinson said. “That’s why full-court pressure defense is going to have to be our strong point.”

There is finally some continuity at St. Aloysius as Cookie Johnson and Delvin Thompson return for their second seasons at the school.

Johnson returns eight players from last year’s 8-14 squad that narrowly missed the Class 1A playoffs. The group includes All-Warren County players Ann Garrison Thomas, Ellie Welp and Allie Willis. The lone loss was point guard Ashtin Giambrone.

“We’ve got to find a new point guard, so we’ll be working a lot on our ballhandling,” Johnson said.

Thompson was confident the Flashes will be improving on last year’s 1-22 mark.

“We’ll be a much improved team,” he said. “We’ve made some changes to the schedule because I felt some of the teams we played early broke our confidence. Plus, we’ve got some tough-minded kids back like Luke Eckstein, Ben Welp, Bryce Daniels, Matthew Foley and Charles Pendleton. And, if we some help from the football guys, we’ll also have more size.”

Both St. Al teams will open at home on Nov. 6 against Enterprise-Lincoln.