Weary Missy Gators cruise to easy victory

Published 9:57 pm Saturday, December 12, 2015

PEARL — Bleary-eyed and weak-legged, the Vicksburg Missy Gators ambled into the gym Saturday morning, shook off the cobwebs and stood tall.

Keiyana Gaskin had 19 points and eight rebounds, Karry Callahan added 17 points, 11 rebounds, seven steals and six blocks, and the Missy Gators beat Lawrence County 51-33 in the Second Annual Fund For the Girls Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Pearl High School.

It was the fourth win in a row for Vicksburg (7-3), and an impressive one considering it was against a quality Lawrence County (6-3) team and the 9:30 a.m. tip off was only 14 hours after they’d last played on Friday night.

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“It was a good win. We had a tough game last night. We had a good week, so it was good to finish it with a win like that. Coach just hyped us up, told us to wake up and finish this week off strong,” Callahan said. “That was tough, to come home last night and try to get in the bed early and then to get up in the morning and get on the bus. That was tough.”

The Missy Gators never trailed after the early going. They opened a nine-point lead at halftime and extended it to as many as 18 late in the third quarter.

By the fourth quarter, however, it was clear the quick turnaround was having an effect. Coach Barbara Hartzog put the offense into a stall, settling for clock-killing passes around the perimeter for long stretches rather than the faster-paced attack that had helped them build the lead.

Vicksburg and Lawrence County combined to score 10 points in the fourth quarter.

“That was fatigue. And we had a cushion, and I wanted to keep it,” Hartzog said. “I told them if you’ve got it and it’s clear, take it. Work on taking your time and shooting.”

Although the slowdown was boring to watch, it was effective at preserving the lead. The Missy Gators only had 12 turnovers in the game, and were 22-for-50 (44 percent) shooting from the field.

In addition to the big games by Gaskin and Callahan, Williams scored seven points for Vicksburg. Camryn Davis led Lawrence County with eight, and Zipporah Baylis and Deneisha Dickson scored six apiece.

“We slowed the ball down. We had shots and good passes. We didn’t lose the ball as much, but we’ve got to learn to control the ball more successfully,” Gaskin said.

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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