Lady Vikes regroup after losing in JPS Tournament final

Published 9:48 pm Friday, December 29, 2017

JACKSON — The last few games of 2017 for the Warren Central Lady Vikes neatly summed up the first half of their season. There were some high points and dominating wins, but also plenty of reminders that there’s still plenty of work to do before they can actually win championships rather than just contend for them.

The Lady Vikes were denied a repeat in the Jackson Public Schools Tournament on Thursday night, losing 47-40 to Murrah in the championship game. Warren Central chopped an 11-point deficit with 3:35 remaining down to three, but a couple of missed shots and turnovers in the final minute sealed the game.

“In a game of this magnitude you can’t afford too many errors. We had a lot of errors that hurt us. We fought back, and I think that drained us,” Warren Central coach Jackie Martin-Glass said.

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Amber Gaston led Warren Central with 15 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots. Cocoa Fultz scored nine points, and Dominique Caldwell had seven.

Fultz hit a pair of 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter to key an 8-0 run that cut a 43-32 Murrah lead to 43-40 with about a minute left. The Lady Vikes then missed a layup and turned it over three times while Murrah’s Nya Irvin hit four free throws to seal it.

It was a familiar pattern for the Lady Vikes, who have struggled the past couple of weeks to put together a complete game. They had 20 turnovers against Murrah in the championship game, and in the semifinals against Terry earlier Thursday shot just 34.9 percent from the field while battling foul trouble.

They did beat Terry — T.T. Sims hit a buzzer-beating jumper for the 45-43 win — and are heading into 2018 with an impressive 12-4 record. They’ve also lost three of their last five games, however, with the Division 4-6A opener against Greenville (9-6) looming on Jan. 5.

Martin-Glass tried to find the positives, and said facing some adversity will help prepare the team for what’s ahead.

“This showed the girls to never give up,” she said of the comeback bid against Murrah. “We could have folded because the calls were not in our favor, but we fought back. That was a good experience.”

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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