Neshoba blows by VHS for 4-5A crown

Published 12:14 am Saturday, February 18, 2017

In two meetings during the regular season, the Vicksburg Gators played Neshoba Central to the wire twice and sneaked away with a win once.

That, apparently, got the Rockets’ attention.

Neshoba Central scored 30 points in the first quarter Friday to jump out to an early 17-point lead, and went on to rout the Gators 76-45 in the Division 4-5A boys basketball tournament championship game.

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Neshoba Central won by four points on its home floor against Vicksburg on Jan. 13, and then lost 60-58 on a last-second shot in Vicksburg two weeks later. The Rockets (22-3) never let this one get that close. They led 30-13 after one quarter, and then outscored the Gators 36-17 in the second half after it appeared things had stabilized a bit in the second period.

With the win, Neshoba Central earned a first-round bye in the Class 5A state tournament that begins next week. It will host a second-round game next Friday.

Vicksburg, meanwhile, will host West Point (5-21) in a first-round game, most likely on Tuesday night. The exact date and time were to be determined Saturday. If the Gators win, they’ll go on the road next Friday to play the Division 1-5A champion.

Vicksburg beat West Point 64-53 when the teams played in a tournament at Ridgeland High School in December.

While the Gators are still alive in the postseason, Vicksburg’s girls’ team is not.

The Missy Gators lost 50-39 in the Division 4-5A tournament consolation game on Friday to end their season with a 4-21 record.