Vicksburg overcome by Callaway
Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 22, 2014
PEARL — The Vicksburg Gators learned an immutable law of sequels Friday night: No matter how great the series is, there’s eventually bound to be a clunker.
Callaway superstar Malik Newman scored 11 of his game-high 20 points in the third quarter — including three 3-pointers during a 21-0 run — and the Chargers rolled through Vicksburg 69-44 to win the boys Division 4-5A tournament championship game.
The Gators had played Callaway tough twice in the regular season, losing by seven and six points. This time, however, they fell behind by 11 at halftime and watched helplessly as the Chargers opened up a 30-point lead on Newman’s 3-pointer late in the third quarter.
“Today was one of those nights,” Vicksburg coach Dellie C. Robinson said. “We had played two super games against them and could have won either game. They were prepared. They were the bigger team and better team. One thing they did tonight that they didn’t do the first two games was put the ball down inside.”
Mario Kegler and Dietrich Taylor added 11 points apiece for Callaway (26-1), and Cortez Mitchell scored 14. The Chargers will host Germantown in a Class 5A North State satellite round game on Tuesday.
Vicksburg (16-7) will play at Ridgeland on Tuesday night.
The Gators’ top scorer was Kris Walker, with just eight points. De’Vonta Brisco and De’Angelo Richardson had seven apiece. Robinson said the way the Chargers took away Richardson, his team’s leading scorer and best 3-point shooter, was one of the keys to the game turning into a rout.
“I thought he did a tremendous job on the boards against us, and an excellent job of playing tough defense on Richardson. We tried to set a few screens here and there for him, and they stuck to him like glue. Callaway played well tonight. They really did. And we didn’t play as well as we could have played,” Robinson said. “We were trying to set screens, but they were so fast we couldn’t even set a screen. They would beat us to the spot.”
The Gators did hang tough until the midway point of the second quarter. Callaway, though, went on a late run to open a 34-23 lead. After Vicksburg scored the first basket of the third quarter, Newman drilled a 3-pointer and Mitchell added a third to make it 44-25 with 5:43 left.
The Chargers added another 11 points in the run, the last on a 3-pointer by Newman with 2:50 left, to make it 55-25. Vicksburg answered with a 12-0 run of its own to get back within 18 points early in the fourth quarter, but Callaway soon restored order and was never threatened.
“Malik has an amazing ability to make shots that nobody else can make, and it’s hard to guard him. It puts your team at a disadvantage because you’d better play really good defense on him or he can rise up and make a shot. It’s something you can’t coach,” Callaway coach David Sanders said.