Parity in Division 4-6A has Warren Central optimistic about chances

Published 8:16 am Monday, February 15, 2016

Warren Central was 14 points and a handful of plays away from being the No. 1 seed instead of the No. 4 seed for this week’s Division 4-6A boys basketball tournament.

It’s one reason coach Bruce Robinson is keeping his team’s championship hopes in perspective as the Vikings prepare to take on Greenville in a first-round game Tuesday at Clinton High School.

“Greenville, for the most part, dominated this district. But I think there’s so much parity in this district that anybody can win it,” Robinson said. “We’ve just got to find a way to beat them in the first round. The pressure is not on Warren Central. The pressure is on everybody else.”

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There sure seems to be little pressure on the Vikings (11-15). They’ve lost three in a row coming into Tuesday’s game and have only made it past the division tournament round once in the past 11 seasons. This season, they’re 2-10 on the road or on a neutral court.

A win Tuesday — or even Friday in the consolation game — would be a big step in helping the program break out of its long cycle of losing, Robinson said. A championship would be bigger.

“I think the culture is changing. The next step in it has to be winning,” Robinson said. “Not just winning small. You’ve got to win big.”

Greenville (23-4) won both regular-season meetings with Warren Central and six in a row overall in the series dating back to 2014. The Hornets have three players — Eric Brown, Deshaven Flowers and Natrown Watkins — averaging in double figures in points. A fourth, Marquell Carter, is at 9.1 points per game.

Warren Central’s Shaun Walton is at 17.1 ppg and Chavis Smith is at 9.3, but consistent production from the rest of the lineup has been hard to come by. Getting some across-the-board contributions will go a long way, Robinson said, and it doesn’t have to just be from scoring.

“We have enough talent. My biggest concern is, are we going to believe? And we going to compete like we believe?” he said.

One of Robinson’s philosophies as a coach has been to prepare his team for February. The regular-season division games are important, but not as much as being ready for the tournament.

That’s this week. It’s a final exam that’ll show how far the Vikings have come and whether they’re ready to go a little farther.

“If you look at it as a clean slate, and everybody is 0-0, you have a good chance at winning it. Seeding don’t matter, because at the end of the day we have to beat Clinton, Murrah or Greenville to win the district,” Robinson said. “We have the talent to do it. But are we disciplined enough to execute the game plan, show up and play smart, and get a win?”


At Clinton High School


Girls – Warren Central vs. Murrah, 6 p.m.

Girls – Clinton vs. Greenville, 7:30 p.m.


Boys – Warren Central vs. Greenville, 6 p.m.

Boys – Clinton vs. Murrah, 7:30 p.m.

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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