NW Rankin tops sluggish Gators

Published 9:06 pm Saturday, January 23, 2016

Vicksburg was once again in its crosstown rival’s gym and, while it wasn’t playing Warren Central, the result was the same.

Corelle Morris scored 11 points — all in the fourth quarter — and Northwest Rankin beat the Gators 42-36 Saturday afternoon in the Red Carpet Basketball Classic.

It was Vicksburg’s second loss this season in WC’s gym. It also lost to the Vikings there earlier this month.

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Joe Thomas led the Gators in scoring with 11 points, followed by big man Kirk Parker with nine. The Gators, who were playing their second game in less than 24 hours, only made eight field goals in the second half.

“I thought we came out with no energy in the first half,” Vicksburg coach Dellie C. Robinson said. “I thought we kind of picked up a little bit in the second half and then we just didn’t have enough energy to fight with. We couldn’t make a play, we turned the ball over and we couldn’t make a shot.”

Vicksburg trailed 17-14 heading into halftime, but Northwest Rankin quickly escalated its level of play by scoring six straight points to start the third quarter. Kenneth Murphy ended the drought with a euro-step layup for his first points of the game.

The Gators were able to score 14 points in the fourth quarter, although it was another example of a scoring rut the team goes in when Parker is denied the ball. Trey Warren and Dentarius Richardson each hit a 3-pointer in the fourth, while Joe Thomas and Parker combined for four points.

Warren’s 3-pointer tied the game at 33 with 4:30 left. The Cougars then went on a 9-3 run to close out the victory.

“We get in that rut where we can’t score. If you can’t score you can’t win,” Robinson said.

Scoring and shooting the ball is something the Gators have worked on, and Robinson knows heading further into division play that opponents will exploit their lack of offense.

“If you can’t make them there’s nothing you can do about it. You try to be patient, try to get it to them and then you turn it over and that kills you,” Robinson said. “I thought we were flat. We played a good game last night and came out this evening and couldn’t get it done.”

(G) NW Rankin 45, Vicksburg 27

Northwest Rankin jumped to a 17-9 lead in the first quarter and cruised to the finish line.

Vicksburg’s lack of defensive effort, inability to protect the rim and persistent fouling helped Northwest Rankin avenge a loss to the Missy Gators a month ago.

“We just didn’t play up to our potential,” said Vicksburg guard Keiyana Gaskin, who scored six points.

Vicksburg’s Karry Callahan was held to only nine points but did have 12 rebounds, four steals and six blocks. Alexis Carter scored four points.

“It was kind of a tough loss. We played in spurts; we didn’t play the whole entire game. Most of the time we didn’t play defense and our shots weren’t falling,” Gaskin said.

What Gaskin means about the playing in spurts is the Missy Gators’ offensive flow was inconsistent.

“We’ll play hard, then we’ll relax and they’ll take off with the lead and we’ll try hard to come back, but at the end it was too late and I think some of us just dropped our heads and gave up,” Gaskin said.

JoJo Jolly scored 20 points for the Lady Cougars, Maya Jones put up 15 points and Olivia Chaffee added six.