Local teams weren’t bad, just had some bad luck

Published 8:51 am Thursday, March 16, 2017

The last loss of the season is always the worst. The finality of it all, whether it’s in the early rounds of the playoffs or during a dismal season, is never easy to take. About the only solace is if you lose to a better team, perhaps even a championship team.

As we’re putting a bow on the winter sports season by preparing our annual all-county teams — soccer will appear in Sunday’s edition and basketball is up next week — it was interesting to see how far into the playoffs the opponents that eliminated Warren County’s teams went.

Warren Central’s boys and girls soccer teams both lost to Northwest Rankin in the first round. Both Northwest Rankin teams went on to win the Class 6A title.

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St. Aloysius’ boys soccer team lost in the MAIS Class AAA semifinals to Central Hinds, which routed Starkville Academy a couple of days later to win its fourth consecutive championship.

Vicksburg’s girls basketball team was eliminated in the Division 4-5A tournament. The three teams that advanced all made it to the Class 5A semifinals and one of them, Neshoba Central, won it all.

Vicksburg’s boys lost the Division 4-5A championship game to Neshoba Central, and then in the first round of the Class 5A tournament to Clarksdale. Those two teams wound up playing each other in the state semifinals.
Warren Central’s girls’ basketball team was knocked out in the second round of the Class 6A tournament by Olive Branch, which finished 33-1 and won its first state championship.

WC’s boys were also eliminated by Olive Branch in the state tournament. Olive Branch didn’t make it past the next round, but the team that beat Warren Central for the Division 4-6A title, Murrah, made it all the way to the state final.

To win a championship takes as much luck as skill. Skill puts you in a position to win, and then you need a few breaks along the way to get over the top. Few teams in any sport go all the way without at least a few difficult games that break their way, and plenty of championship-caliber teams have been laid low by ill-timed injuries or an off night.

Part of the luck factor is the luck of the draw. Running into a hot or superior team early in the bracket can put down a title contender before it might otherwise lose. That’s part of sports.

Our basketball and soccer teams were pretty good this season. Unfortunately, they weren’t lucky as well.

Ernest Bowker is a sports writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at ernest.bowker@vicksburgpost.com

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 139-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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