A dream for Raheam

Published 12:21 am Saturday, February 13, 2016

Vicksburg junior scores career-high 27 in blowout win over Brandon

For weeks, the Vicksburg Gators have been looking for more scoring and for their second-line players to step up.

On Friday night, they found their man.

Junior forward Raheam Moore scored 18 points in the first half, finished with a career-high 27, and powered the Gators to a 67-58 win over Brandon in their regular-season finale.

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“It feels exciting,” Moore said of his big game. “As soon as the ball touches your hands you want to make every shot and make the best play for your team.”

Kirk Parker added 17 points and K.J. Murphy 16 for Vicksburg (9-15), which never trailed and went into next week’s Division 4-5A tournament with a needed boost of confidence.

Vicksburg had lost two in a row, and nine of its last 11. It’ll play Ridgeland in the first round of the division tournament Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Lanier High School in Jackson.

“That’s a huge win for us. Going into district it gives us a little momentum, a little confidence, and lord knows we need confidence,” Vicksburg coach Dellie C. Robinson said. “We lost by one (on Tuesday), tonight we won. We’ve got momentum going into Ridgeland, we feel good about ourselves and now we’ll go get a little more preparation for Ridgeland.”

The Gators have struggled to score with their half-court based offense, so Robinson decided to change things up on Friday by pushing the tempo. It paid dividends immediately, as they started the game with an 8-0 run.

Brandon (19-9) tied it briefly midway through the second quarter, but the Gators had another big run and took a 35-27 lead into halftime. Led by Moore, they outscored Brandon 13-3 over a three-minute span before Legarious White hit a half-court shot at the buzzer.

“I was playing off Kirk. Everybody double-teamed him and I stepped up and scored off him,” Moore said. “We’ve got to play up tempo and hurry up and get out in transition and score.”

Vicksburg stretched its lead to as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter before Brandon made one last push.

Henry Vo hit back-to-back 3-pointers as part of a 13-4 run that cut the margin to single digits. The Gators hit enough free throws down the stretch, however, to keep the Bulldogs at bay. The closest Brandon got was seven points, with 10.8 seconds left.

Murphy went 8-for-8 from the foul line in the second half for Vicksburg.

Vo hit four 3-pointers in the game and finished with 17 points, while Schdarren Archie led Brandon with 21.

“I thought we did a good job pushing the ball down the floor. We can’t play in the half-court set, so we decided we were going to get out and run with it,” Robinson said.

(G) Brandon 60, Vicksburg 44

When Micha Williams hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 5:30 left in the game, Vicksburg’s rowdy senior night crowd sprang to life.

Just as quickly, the energy dissipated into the night.

The Missy Gators committed four turnovers, missed six shots from the field and two free throws after Williams’ 3-pointer. They didn’t score again, and Brandon finished the game on a 16-0 run to win going away.

“I think at the end we got tired. We made mistakes and started bringing our heads down,” Vicksburg senior Monique Jones said.

Charisma Walker and Shaq Patton scored 14 points apiece to lead Brandon (23-4), and Kayleigh McEwen added 11.

Karry Callahan finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds for Vicksburg (11-15), while Williams scored 12 points.

The Missy Gators will play Ridgeland in the first round of the Division 4-5A tournament on Monday at 6 p.m. at Lanier High School in Jackson.

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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