Vicksburg, Warren Central gear up for big rematch

Published 10:30 am Friday, January 9, 2015

Vicksburg's Antonio Moore (22) drives the baseline during Tuesday's game against Callaway. The Gators will host Warren Central Saturday at 1 p.m. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Vicksburg’s Antonio Moore (22) drives the baseline during Tuesday’s game against Callaway. The Gators will host Warren Central Saturday at 1 p.m. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

A month ago, the Warren Central Vikings beat Vicksburg 76-74 in double overtime.

WC’s first win over its archrival since 2006 was a highlight of the season. It was also the last time the Vikings seemed able to pull out a close game.

Since that thrilling comeback, Warren Central has lost twice by one point and by seven to Greenville in another double-overtime game. It’s been a frustrating stretch that’s dropped its record to 6-10 overall heading into Saturday afternoon’s rivalry rematch at Vicksburg.

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The Vikings ended their slide with a 51-32 win over Yazoo County on Tuesday, and now are looking for another win and some more confidence before a big division game next week at Clinton.

“We just want to come in and play them tough like we did last time. This time of year, you’ve got to value your wins because you’re trying to build momentum,” WC coach Bruce Robinson said.

Vicksburg (9-4) has played well this season, but could also use a confidence-booster after it was diced up by three-time defending Class 5A champion Callaway on Tuesday night.

Callaway jumped out to a 22-point lead by the end of the first quarter and cruised to an 81-61 victory to beat the Gators for the sixth consecutive time. It was also Vicksburg’s worst loss of the season.

While not overly stressing the value of a non-division win or loss, Vicksburg coach Dellie C. Robinson acknowledged that a win Saturday would help his team.

“If we can bounce back against Warren Central, certainly we’ll be fine,” Robinson said.

The first meeting between the teams on Dec. 6 at Warren Central was a classic. The Vikings rallied back from 10 points down in the third quarter, forced overtime on a 3-pointer by Mario Doyle and a second overtime when Doyle hit three free throws with 5 seconds left. Doyle hit one more free throw with 3 seconds left in overtime to give WC the win.

“They shoot the ball real well. When we tried to press them, if you leave those guys open they can knock shots down,” Dellie C. Robinson said. “I think that’s what hurt us last time. We pressed them and got some turnovers and got a lead. Then in the second half we tried to do the same thing and they made some big shots and we made fouls we never should have made. We fouled them three times making 3-point shots. That was the difference in the ballgame.”

The Gators ripped off five consecutive wins following that defeat, including an impressive 3-0 run at the Northwest Rankin Holiday Tournament. The streak ended with the loss to Callaway.

Vicksburg’s coach Robinson said, however, that the bad taste of the loss to WC still lingered a month later.

“We felt like we should have won that ballgame and it slipped away from us. We will be ready to play on Saturday, that’s for sure,” he said.

If you go

Saturday, 1 p.m.

Warren Central at Vicksburg

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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