Lady Vikes reach JPS semifinals with easy victory

Published 7:43 pm Wednesday, December 27, 2017

JACKSON — After going the long way around to the Jackson Public Schools Tournament championship last year, the Warren Central Lady Vikes are cutting a far more direct path this time.

Amber Gaston totaled 19 points and four blocked shots, and T.T. Sims had 14 points and four assists as Warren Central pounded Forest Hill 59-29 in the second round of the 2017 JPS Tournament on Wednesday.

The Lady Vikes (11-3), the defending tournament champions, advanced to the semifinals Thursday at 10 a.m. against Terry, at Forest Hill High School in South Jackson.

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The winner of that game will play again at 6:30 p.m. at Forest Hill in the championship game.

Warren Central won the 2016 JPS Tournament by battling back through the losers’ bracket and winning four games in two days after dropping its opener. Although it will have to win twice on Thursday to claim the title again, it had a first-round bye this year and will only have to play a maximum of three games instead of five.

Coach Jackie Martin-Glass said this way wasn’t without its challenges.

“The challenge is probably having a day off. After two losses and then having a bye, that was kind of tough when we wanted to come back and respond well,” Martin-Glass said. “Those other games last year, having two a day, there was almost that fire and anger to come back and win and prove something. We won last year more on our emotions. This year, we’ve been sick and kind of stagnated. I was worried that bye was going to hurt us. But we responded well, so we’ll come back tomorrow and build on this.”

The Lady Vikes had lost two games in a row coming into Wednesday’s matchup with Forest Hill, partly because of slow starts that had them scuffling throughout. They started slow again vs. Forest Hill, leading just 8-3 at the end of the first quarter, but Martin-Glass said that was part of the plan this time.

The Lady Vikes outscored Forest Hill 37-12 in the second and third quarters to turn the game into a rout. Cocoa Fultz hit a 3-pointer a minute into the third quarter to give WC a 29-9 lead, and Sims’ 3-pointer with 12 seconds to go in the period made it 45-15.

“I wanted to start out a little slow since I was a little short-handed. I didn’t want to push the ball too much and get us winded and tired,” Martin-Glass said. “So our whole game plan was to build a lead by being conservative at first, and then pushing it when we had the opportunities.”

Warren Central started to dominate the game with its defense and rebounding. It grabbed 17 defensive rebounds to hold Forest Hill to one shot on most trips down the floor.

Dominique Caldwell finished with 10 points and eight rebounds, while Fultz had 11 points, six rebounds and five assists. WC shot 56.8 percent (21-for-37) from the field.

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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