Brandon blasts new-look Gators

Published 12:35 am Saturday, February 14, 2015

Vicksburg’s DeAngelo Dixon (14) drives past Brandon’s Quavon Hayes in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Vicksburg’s DeAngelo Dixon (14) drives past Brandon’s Quavon Hayes in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

BRANDON — The Vicksburg Gators unveiled Version 2.0 of their 2014-15 roster on Friday night.

New Coke might have had a better debut.

Playing without five seniors who quit the team earlier this week, the remaining Gators were sliced and diced by a powerful Brandon team. Calvin Williams scored a game-high 18 points, Titus Ivory and Schdarren Archie had 11 apiece, and Brandon crushed Vicksburg 71-37.

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Vicksburg coach Dellie C. Robinson said the seniors left in a dispute over playing time. The only seniors left on the team are point guard Tyler Smith, who scored four points on Friday, and forward Antonio Moore who missed the game because of the flu.

“The seniors didn’t think they were playing enough, so they just decided to let it go,” Robinson said. “I don’t think that’s the reason we’re getting beat like we are, because our guards are still here. We’re doing a decent job of rebounding, we’re just not taking care of the ball right now.”

Trey Warren led Vicksburg (12-12) with nine points and K.J. Murphy scored eight. The Gators, though, were never in the game.

Williams buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the first quarter with Brandon ahead 24-12, and its lead never got lower than that.

The Gators only scored 14 points in the second half as Brandon (23-5) led by as many as 35.

“Our biggest thing is guard play. We missed too many easy shots inside and turned the ball over too much,” Robinson said. “Our guards just aren’t getting it done right now. They’re not making the 3-point shots and then they’re turning the ball over. That’s just a bad combination going into the district tournament.”

Up next for the Gators is an even tougher opponent in the first round of the Division 4-5A Tournament on Tuesday. Callaway has won three consecutive state championships and beaten Vicksburg by 22 and 36 points in two meetings this season.

Robinson wasn’t optimistic about his team’s chances in that one, but was hopeful the revamped lineup could pull things together in time to win a consolation game next Friday and still advance to the state tournament.

“Barring a miracle, we’re playing for third. A miracle does happen, but beating Callaway is a task that, to be honest, I don’t think we’re up for,” Robinson said. “But I do think we can steal third if we get our attitude together and take care of the basketball.”

(G) Brandon 76, Vicksburg 35

Vicksburg coach Barbara Hartzog cleared the bench Friday night in an attempt to see who might be able to contribute in next week’s division tournament.

At this point, it’s all the Missy Gators have left to cling to.

Twelve different players scored for Brandon, which jumped out to a 20-point lead by halftime and went on to throttle the Missy Gators (10-15) in the regular season finale for both teams.

Coco Hobson led Brandon (21-6) with 15 points, Shaq Patton scored 14 and Charisma Walker had 10.

Karry Callahan had 13 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks and four steals for Vicksburg. Monique Jones scored seven points and Ruddie Shears had six, but no one else scored more than two.

Vicksburg only scored 15 points total in the second half. It shot 28.3 percent from the field (15-for-53) and committed 26 turnovers.

“For the first five minutes we only scored three points, and then the bottom fell out when they went on that 15-point run,” Hartzog said. “I decided to just get everybody some playing time and see what they could do for next week.”

The Missy Gators, seeded fourth in the division tournament, will host top-seeded Callaway Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Callaway won both meetings this season, but Hartzog was hopeful her team could catch lightning in a bottle like it did last year, when it was also seeded foruth and upset Lanier in the first round.

“We’ve got to lace our shoes and go play,” Hartzog said. “We’ve been there. All we’ve got to do is prepare and play the best we can.”

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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