Lady Vikes bow out of state tournament

Published 11:06 pm Friday, February 24, 2017

The Warren Central Lady Vikes traveled four hours Friday to take on perhaps the best girls’ basketball team in Mississippi in a state tournament elimination game, with an entire season’s worth of work on the line.

It was an unenviable task by any stretch, and they learned exactly why.

Olive Branch built a 10-point lead by the end of the first quarter and maintained it the rest of the way, keeping the Lady Vikes at arm’s length until it had secured a 75-59 victory in the second round of the Class 6A state tournament.

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Warren Central trailed by 14 points at halftime and cut it to single digits in the fourth quarter, but never could make a run to get the lead.

Cocoa Fultz led Warren Central with 16 points, and Dee Dee Caldwell added 15. Myah Taylor scored a game-high 20 points for Olive Branch and Mahogany Vaught finished with 17.

Olive Branch (30-1) improved to 116-11 over the last four years and advanced to the Class 6A quarterfinals for the third time in that span. It will face Jim Hill on March 4 in Jackson.

Jim Hill beat Ocean Springs 52-41 in another second-round game on Friday.

Warren Central (23-9) got to the second round of the state tournament for the first time in a decade, but saw a promising season end there. The Lady Vikes owned wins over four of the other 15 teams that reached the second round, but couldn’t get by a team that has now won 17 consecutive games and hasn’t lost to an opponent from Mississippi this season.

The good news for Warren Central is it will have nearly everyone back to make another run at a title in 2017-18. There are only two seniors on the roster — starting guard Kiara Lockhart and backup forward Tanise McCoy.