WC teams head into JPS Tournament on different paths

Published 5:59 pm Monday, December 25, 2017

Warren Central’s boys and girls basketball teams are both going east on I-20 to Jackson this week, but they’re heading there in opposite directions.

The Vikings are one of the hottest teams in Mississippi, having won nine in a row going into this week’s Jackson Public Schools Tournament. The Lady Vikes, meanwhile, have lost two in a row after winning 10 of their first 11.

Both teams will try to use the prestigious tournament as a springboard into the Division 4-6A schedule and the second half of the season that begins in January.

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“It’s coming at a time where, right after this tournament, we go into our district play. So if we can leave off of that tournament with a good showing, it can set us up for those district games,” WC girls coach Jackie Martin-Glass said.

The Lady Vikes (10-3) have a first-round bye and won’t play until Wednesday. Their opener is at 11:30 a.m. at Murrah High School, against either Terry or Forest Hill. Terry beat Warren Central 57-54 in overtime on Dec. 16.

The JPS Tournament offers the Lady Vikes an opportunity to get back on track, and to get back on top. They battled out of the losers’ bracket last year to win the tournament for the first time since 1984, and used it as a springboard to a strong second-half surge.

The Lady Vikes won 14 of 19 games after losing their JPS opener last season and reached the second round of the Class 6A state tournament. They’re hoping to make a similar run this season — during and after the JPS Tournament.

“We are the defending champs. Last year we came in and lost the first game, got into the losers’ bracket and won the whole thing. So anything is possible. We just have to keep our faith and trust each other, and trust our coach, and just stay together. If we’re not as one, we’re not going to be successful,” WC center Amber Gaston said. “We are the defending champs and we’d like to bring it back again.”

Warren Central’s boys’ team would like to bring home the trophy for the first time ever. The Vikings (10-2) will play Madison Central (7-5) in the first round Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. at Lanier High School.

The losers and winners of that game and another first-round matchup between Mendenhall and Brighton (Memphis) will play at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, respectively, also at Lanier.

The Vikings’ nine-game winning streak is the longest in the six-year tenure of head coach Bruce Robinson. Its previous best was a seven-game streak in 2014.

“We are looking forward to playing in the tournament,” Robinson said.

Boys: Warren Central vs. Madison Central, Tuesday, 2:30 p.m., at Lanier High School
Girls: Warren Central vs. Terry or Forest Hill, Wednesday, 11:30 a.m., at Murrah High School

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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