Vikings hope to snap15-game losing streak to rival Vicksburg

Published 11:42 am Thursday, December 6, 2012

When he looked at this week’s schedule, first-year Warren Central coach Bruce Robinson got a little excited about experiencing the Vicksburg-Warren Central rivalry for the first time.

Then, he realized something that curbed his enthusiasm.

“It’s not a rivalry unless the other team wins some, and I don’t know if we’ve done that lately,” Robinson said.

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By that definition, the series between the Vikings and Gators has been anything but a rivalry. Vicksburg has won 15 straight meetings with Warren Central, a streak that dates back to the 2006-07 season.

During the streak, WC rarely has challenged Vicksburg. Only one of their games — last year’s 61-58 decision at Warren Central — has been closer than 10 points.

“I just think we’ve had some outstanding players the last four or five years, when you look at Mychal Ammons, and Kelsey Howard, and Jonathan Phelps,” Vicksburg coach Dellie C. Robinson said, listing three recent former players who went on to play college basketball. “I think we’ve been a little more talented the last couple of years than they have.”

This year’s Warren Central team will take its first crack at ending the streak Saturday afternoon. The Vikings are off to a 5-4 start against a challenging schedule that has included losses to defending Class 6A champion Jim Hill and perennial powers Murrah and Hattiesburg. Next week, they’ll travel to take on defending Class 4A champion Amanda Elzy (11-1).

WC, however, has been competitive in most of its losses. It led Murrah and Hattiesburg in the fourth quarter before slipping up. Both games were decided by seven points or less.

“We had our chances to beat Murrah, certainly had a chance to beat Hattiesburg. We have to get to the point where some mental toughness kicks in,” Bruce Robinson said. “It’s a mindset. We’re still thinking like the old Warren Central, and we have to think like the new Warren Central, where we’re supposed to win these games.”

On that point, Vicksburg’s Robinson can empathize. His Gators lost 10 games last season by seven points or less. He said lessons learned then, however, are paying off now. Vicksburg is 8-1 and riding an eight-game winning streak heading into Saturday’s division opener against WC.

“We lost a lot of close games last year, and now we’re finding a way to win them,” Dellie C. Robinson said. “That’s a big difference between us last year and this year.”