Missy Gators ready to face Germantown in 5A playoffs

Published 9:00 am Monday, February 22, 2016

The Vicksburg Missy Gators might have been unable to claim their first division title since 1999, but they still earned something of value — a home playoff game in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament.

Vicksburg (12-16) will host Germantown (12-16) Monday at 7 p.m. in a rematch of their season opener in November. Vicksburg won that one, 50-45, and beat the Mavericks again in December, 49-33.

The second win over Germantown was part of a four-game winning streak that was a highlight of the Missy Gators’ season. They lost seven of 10 coming down the stretch, but one of the three wins was a 47-45 victory over top-seeded Ridgeland in the first round of the Division 4-5A tournament last week.

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Vicksburg found itself down 11 points in the fourth quarter against the Titans, but was able to overcome its season-long free throw struggles to keep above swampy waters. Vicksburg hit three of its last four from the line — two by Micha Williams and one by Leslee Toole — to secure the win that guaranteed a home game in the state tournament.

After the comeback victory, the Missy Gators fell short of beating Lanier in the Division 4-5A tournament championship game. Karry Callahan put up 21 points followed by Micha Williams adding 12 points from four 3-pointers. They also shot 55 percent from the free-throw line, making 15 of 27 attempts.

The improved free throw shooting, or at least the clutch shooting, could be a key factor going forward. The Missy Gators are averaging 19 free throw attempts per game, but only making 41 percent.

Jayda Thigpen (64 percent), Williams (57 percent) and Callahan (54 percent) are the only players shooting better than 50 percent from the foul line.

Germantown is in the same boat. It’s only shooting 55 percent from the line as a team, and is only scoring 34.2 points per game.

Senior Aneisha Evans is shooting 36 percent from 3-point range and averaging 12.8 points per game. No other Mavericks average more than 5.5 points. Evans has also taken 281 of Germantown’s 1,015 shots from the field this season.

Vicksburg will be making just its third state tournament appearance since 1999. It lost to Tupelo in 2007 and Canton in 2014 in its last two trips. A Germantown team with the same record and that they’ve beaten twice might be the cure for the Missy Gators’ long slump, but the road gets decidedly tougher if they win Monday.

The winner of this game will go on the road Friday to face Division 2-5A champion Oxford (24-4), which has not won a state tournament game since going undefeated and winning the Class 5A championship in 2012.


Monday, 7 p.m.

Germantown at Vicksburg

Class 5A girls basketball state tournament