Gators beat Neshoba Central on Richardson’s late 3-pointer
Published 11:50 pm Friday, January 27, 2017
With one sweet shot, Dentarius Richardson went from goat to hero and turned a night to forget into one he’ll remember forever.
The senior guard icily drilled a 3-pointer with three seconds left to give Vicksburg High a 60-58 win over Neshoba Central, the top-ranked team in Class 5A according to MaxPreps.com, on Friday night.
It was a moment of personal as well as team triumph for Richardson. The senior guard got into foul trouble in the first half, and watched his man blow past him for a go-ahead layup moments before he hit the game-winner. Other than a free throw in the first quarter, the last-second 3-pointer from the top of the key was the only shot he hit all night.
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“I had just gave up a point, and I knew I had to get it back somewhere,” Richardson said. “I knew it was going in. It’s my first game-winner ever. I was so proud. Just making that shot was just great.”
Kirk Parker had a monster game for Vicksburg, with 18 points, 18 rebounds, six blocked shots and three assists.
Joe Thomas scored 11 points and Raheam Moore added 10.
Justus Day led Neshoba Central with 24 points, while Chayton York scored 16, Bobby Anderson had 11 and T.J. Ben had seven. No one else scored a point for the Rockets.
Neshoba Central (19-3, 5-1 Division 4-5A) lost for the first time in 2017 and had an eight-game winning streak snapped. Its previous two losses were both in overtime, and its three losses have been by a total of five points.
The Rockets beat Vicksburg (14-6, 3-1) by four points in their first meeting two weeks ago.
Vicksburg won its fifth consecutive game.
“That’s a real big win. You beat the number one team in 5A, at home, in a tight game … these boys are playing their butts off,” interim Vicksburg coach Kelvin Carter said. “You see it in practice. These boys are in sync. They’re just playing some hard basketball.”
After their close game the first time they played, it was probably no surprise to most that Friday’s contest went down to the wire again. Neshoba Central opened up a nine-point lead late in the second quarter that was the biggest by either team at any point in the game.
Kamari English hit a 3-pointer with five seconds left in the half to make it 35-29, and the Gators stormed out of the gate in the third quarter. They erased the deficit in less than two minutes, hit three 3-pointers in the period, and took a 48-43 lead into the fourth quarter.
“When we came in at halftime we talked about detail,” Carter said. We’ve been in the film room Wednesday and Thursday, and we stressed detail. Clog the lane and go back to detail.”
In all, the Gators outscored Neshoba 19-8 in the third quarter. They also got the Rockets to burn a timeout with sixth-tenths of a second left that proved critical later on.
The teams traded mini-runs throughout the fourth quarter. Jeremiyah Brown hit a 3-pointer with 1:32 left to give Vicksburg a 57-56 lead. After Neshoba Central called its final timeout, Anderson held the ball at the top of the key for a full minute. He finally hit a cutting Day — who streaked past Richardson to get wide open in the lane — for a reverse layup that put the Rockets back in front by a point with 24 seconds to go.
Then it was the Gators’ turn to answer and they, too, held the ball for one shot.
Expecting the Rockets to focus their defense inside on Parker, Carter drew up a play for Richardson. The 5-foot-9 guard got the ball at the top of the key and let a 3-pointer fly.
“That’s exactly what I wanted, because I knew they were going to go with Kirk. So I was trying to get a set where Kirk cut across the lane and I knew all the attention was going to be on him,” Carter said. “And D.T. had said he wanted it because he knew he had messed up earlier. I just felt he was going to make it. He was wide open. It worked out just like we planned it.”
The ball swished through the net with three seconds to go. Neshoba’s players, apparently thinking they still had a timeout, inbounded the ball and waited in the backcourt for a whistle that never came.
The timeout they used to get off a quick shot — which was missed — in the final second of the third quarter was desperately needed in the last three seconds of the fourth. Instead, the last ticks of the clock bled out and the Gators stormed the court, mobbed Richardson at the far end, and celebrated a win that doesn’t get much bigger in the regular season.
“It’s the best thing I could ever imagine. For Coach Robinson, too, I just knew I had to do it for him. It’s a great scene, but we just have to build off of this one,” Richardson said, referring to ailing VHS coach Dellie C. Robinson.
(G) Neshoba Central 63, Vicksburg 46
Andrea Carter scored a game-high 23 points, Taylor Ben scored nine of her 13 points in the third quarter, and Neshoba Central (12-10, 3-3 Division 4-5A) handed Vicksburg (4-14, 0-4) its fourth consecutive loss.
Neshoba Central led by eight points at halftime and then outscored the Missy Gators 18-11 in the third quarter to take firm control of the game.
Maya Clay had a double-double for Vicksburg, with 13 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots. Pleasure King had 11 points and six rebounds, and Jayla Sims scored 11 points.
Vicksburg will host Lanier in another division game on Tuesday night.
(B) Warren Central 65, Germantown 55
Shaun Walton went 8-of-10 from the free throw line and scored 13 of his game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter as Warren Central (9-10) beat Germantown (5-17) for just its second win in the last six games.
In the game, Walton was 15-for-17 from the foul line. His 13 points in the fourth quarter equaled Germantown’s output as a team.
As a team, Warren Central made 25 of 31 free throws in the game.
Jacques Jones added nine points for the Vikings and Raleigh Floyd scored eight. Zach Jones led Germantown with 19 points, while Alex Holloman and Hayes Crumpler scored nine each.
(G) Warren Central 46, Germantown 26
Amber Gaston and T.T. Sims scored 11 points apiece as the Warren Central Lady Vikes (18-5) slogged their way to a non-division win over Germantown (12-10).
Dee Dee Caldwell and Chae White added six points apiece, and Aniya Sanders had six points and nine rebounds for WC. It led only 17-11 at halftime, but steadily pulled away in the second half for a comfortable victory.
Essence Lambert led Germantown with 11 points and Tyra Lindsey scored seven.
“We didn’t shoot well. We gave up too many offensive rebounds. We played passive, with no energy,” said WC coach Jackie Martin-Glass, whose team still wound up shooting a respectable 46.2 percent (18-for-39) from the field. “Maybe it was because it was non-conference. Some players are still playing with nagging injuries, and we have not been able to practice much because of the Little Six (junior high) tournament.”
WC has two road games within Division 4-6A next week, Tuesday at Clinton and Friday at Greenville.