Reserves, role players key to VHS’ success
Published 10:44 am Wednesday, March 12, 2014
JACKSON — Vicksburg’s “Big Three” have certainly done their part this season to help the Gators reach the Class 5A championship.
It’s the “Other Three” who seem to keep coming up big in the most crucial moments, however.
Forwards Justin Selvy and Kris Walker combined for 18 points and 11 rebounds, and backup guard La’Darrie Ward jumpstarted a key second-quarter run that propelled the Gators to an 82-67 win over Pascagoula in the semifinals Monday.
It was just the latest bit of understated heroics by the team’s role players and reserves that have made this chance at a championship memorable — and possible.
Walker hit a pair of game-winning free throws in an elimination game last week against Ridgeland. Three days later, Ward buried a 3-pointer in the second overtime period to send the Gators past Center Hill and into the state tournament in another elimination game.
“Everybody stepped up and played well,” Vicksburg coach Dellie C. Robinson said. “I thought Selvy played a great game tonight. I thought he rebounded the ball as well as he has. That was huge for us.”
Starting guards De’Angelo Richardson, De’Vonta Brisco and Edward Davis — the team’s leading scorers and best ball-handlers — combined to score 55 of the Gators’ 82 points Monday.
It was Selvy and Ward, though, who keyed the run that gave them the lead for good.
Midway through the second quarter, Ward stole the ball and passed ahead to Edward Davis for a fast break layup, then hit a 3-pointer of his own a minute later. Ward’s only basket of the game put the Gators ahead 34-25, and Selvy took over from there.
The junior forward hit a 3-pointer with 1:30 to go in the half to make it 37-25. Pascagoula never got closer than 11 points again.
“I knew I was going to make the shot so I took it,” said Selvy, who had 11 points and five rebounds.
In the second half, it was Walker who did the dirty work that helped keep the Gators in front. He scored five of his seven points after halftime and finished with six rebounds. Together with freshman Kirk Parker (four points, three rebounds), he controlled the boards and started several fast breaks with passes to the Gators’ speedy guards.
“That makes a difference, no doubt about it. If we can rebound the ball we can get out and run, and run the fast break, and get De’Lo some open shots in the open floor. Certainly, we did a good job of rebounding the basketball and getting out and pushing, and we made some shots,” Robinson said.