Lethargic Lady Vikes lose to Terry

Published 7:05 am Sunday, December 17, 2017

RIDGELAND — At the start of the second half of Saturday’s game between Warren Central and Terry, the gym was almost quiet enough to hear a pin drop.

The neutral crowd at Ridgeland High School’s Titan Shootout were either returning from the concession stand, buried in their phones, or engaging in side conversations. Whatever noise there was equated to a small drone.

It was the kind of atmosphere that could put you to sleep rather than bring you to your feet, which matched the way Warren Central’s girls’ team played for long stretches of the game.

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The Lady Vikes couldn’t follow up on a strong first quarter and let a pair of double-digit leads slip away. It was the kind of sluggish effort that has plagued them all season long, and this time it came back to bite them.

Terry’s Kayla Fisher tied the game with a basket with 4.2 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and the Bulldogs went on to beat Warren Central 57-54 in overtime.

Cathy Burse led Terry (8-3) with 13 points, Ayani Cockrell scored 12 and Jelisa Smith 11.

Amber Gaston led Warren Central with 20 points, and Cocoa Fultz scored nine. The Lady Vikes shot 36.2 percent (21-for-58) from the field and were 11-for-17 from the foul line.

“It seems like they weren’t ready to play,” Warren Central coach Jackie Martin-Glass said. “I had kids saying, ‘I’m sick, I’m tired, get me out.’ It just seemed like a low energy game, and I’ve been dealing with that all week. If you come into practice and are playing slow and weak, it carries over into this game.”

Warren Central (10-2) had a three-game winning streak snapped in a game it seemed to have ample opportunity to run away with.

The Lady Vikes jumped out to an 18-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, but then let off the gas in the second. A string of turnovers and missed shots slowed the momentum and allowed Terry to pull within 24-21 at halftime.

WC used its press to build a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but again let Terry off the hook. The Bulldogs chipped away at the deficit and tied it on Fisher’s putback of a missed 3-pointer with 4.2 seconds to go.

WC’s Aniya Sanders had missed two free throws with 19.7 seconds left that could have made it a four-point game, and Te’Asia Sims missed a long, off-balance heave at the buzzer that could have won it.
The malaise continued in overtime, as the Lady Vikes missed several shots in the last two minutes.

Burse scored for Terry with about 1:30 to play, and CeUndra McGhee hit another shot with 30 seconds to go to make it 56-52. After a basket by Gaston cut it to two points, San’Toria Harris split a pair of free throws with 6.4 seconds left to put the Bulldogs up 57-54.

Dee Dee Caldwell got a look at a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Warren Central, but it was off the mark.

“We started out well. We were up 18-7, and from there our intensity went down and their intensity went up. You make those turnovers and the other team is going to convert off of them,” Gaston said. “We lost our intensity and our confidence, and got frustrated with ourselves. It’s just a learning experience. We have to learn to stay composed and take it to them every minute and every second.”

(B) Warren Central 51, Terry 49

Chavis Smith and Chris Early each scored 15 points as Warren Central (9-2) won its eighth consecutive game.

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 140-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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