Second-half surge propels Gators over Raymond
Published 2:10 am Friday, December 2, 2016
The Vicksburg Gators started out in tight competition Thursday night against Raymond, but came out blazing after halftime to earn a 63-52 victory.
The third quarter started with three quick lead changes in as many possessions, but after a 3-pointer by Dentarius Richardson with about six minutes left the Gators went on a 10-0 run and never looked back.
The Gators took a 12-point lead into the fourth quarter and quickly stretched it to as many as 18.
Raymond never got closer than 10 points in the fourth quarter.
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“We know we can play anybody. It’s just a matter of making shots. If we can make some 3-point shots, we can play with anybody,” Vicksburg coach Dellie C. Robinson said.
Vicksburg forward Kirk Parker scored 12 of his 16 points in the first quarter. Raheam Moore had 12 points in the game, with six coming in the fourth quarter.
Tavian Coleman led Raymond (6-3) with 15 points. Seven of those came in the first quarter.
The lead changed a couple of times in the first quarter, but the teams ended it in an 18-all tie. Raymond led 30-28 at halftime, and then the Gators (5-1) made the adjustments that let them pull away.
“We all talked it out during halftime and figured out what was the game plan,” Parker said, adding the team started focusing on the middle because that was where Raymond was getting through the defense the easiest. “Everyone talked and communicated to help us get the win.”
Parker said the players were supportive of each other, even when they made mistakes, and it made a difference in how they played.
“We kept encouraging each other to play better,” he said.
This was Vicksburg’s first game back since the Thanksgiving holiday, but Robinson said his team practiced hard during the break and was not rusty. The biggest thing the team worked on was getting Moore, a senior forward who was with the football team until mid-November, back in the game and acclimated to basketball.
“We had a chance to work hard over the break and get Raheam Moore’s legs under him,” Robinson said. “We worked him real hard the days we were off.”
(G) Raymond 61, VHS 50
The Missy Gators got off to a good start in their game against Raymond, but were not able to hold on to an early lead.
“We were in the game, and then we would make a mistake and drop our head. They would score three or four baskets and we’d get back down, but then we’d come back up. We never quit,” Vicksburg coach Barbara Hartzog said.
Pleasure King led Vicksburg (2-3) with 19 points, and Eriel Bunch had 11. Breannah McCullah led Raymond (3-4) with 15 points, Allison Martin scored 13 and Moregann Mitchell had 11.
The strong start had the Missy Gators up 10-7 at the end of the first quarter, but they lost their lead halfway through the second and trailed 24-20 at halftime.
Vicksburg was able to tie it up after halftime but couldn’t regain the lead and slipped to 40-31 at the end of the third. The Missy Gators had a strong fourth quarter, scoring 19 points, but never came closer to the lead than nine.
“We’ve got to start playing all four quarters and not dropping our head when we make mistakes,” Hartzog said. “They’re young, and they’re doing a really good job right now. They’ve just got to keep pushing.”
She said rebounding and free throws are the areas where the team needs the most improvement.
“We missed nine free throws and we got beat by 11 points. I think free throws make a difference in the game because if you make them it keeps the score tight and then your momentum is a little bit better,” Hartzog said. “Overall, we hung in there. We’re getting better each game.”