Vikings swamp Gators to complete season sweep

Published 10:15 pm Saturday, January 13, 2018

By Cody Thomason
The Vicksburg Post

There was an electric atmosphere at the rivalry game between Warren Central and Vicksburg on Saturday. Missed dunks were met with raucous jeers and laughter from the crowd, and every crossover triggered taunts at the opposing team.

The game ended on a 3-point buzzer-beater from Vicksburg, but it was anticlimactic — Warren Central won comfortably, 67-43.

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Warren Central dominated on the inside, outrebounding Vicksburg and blocking 10 shots. Jabari Bowman scored 10 points, blocked two shots and had four rebounds. Meanwhile, De’Arius Henyard had seven points, seven rebounds, two assists and a block, while Chris Early had seven points, five rebounds and three blocks.

Warren Central coach Bruce Robinson praised the team’s balanced effort.

“That’s part of what we do this year,” Robinson said. “We’ve always been successful with some guards. This year we have some inside play, and that’s just a part of what we do and who we are.”

It looked like a blowout was brewing in the first quarter, with the Vikings going on a 20-5 run early and leading 35-12 at halftime.

Vicksburg (5-11) stepped out with a new energy in the second half and fought hard. It was too late to mount a comeback, but the Gators were only outscored 32-31 in the second half.

“It’s just about pride, and we’ve been doing that the last couple of games,” Vicksburg coach Kelvin Carter said of the team’s second-half performance. “We get in these holes that it’s hard to come out of, but I don’t want to stop fighting.”

The game’s leading scorer was Vicksburg’s Darius Johnson, with 12 points. Jaymeson Norfort added eight points, four rebounds and three blocks.

“Their contribution was big, but we need those contributions early on in the first quarter so we won’t ever be in that spot or that situation where we have to fight back so hard,” Carter said.

Robinson saw some positives in the game, but felt his team’s finish could’ve been stronger. Warren Central was 18-for-22 at the free throw line.

“We looked good in spots and spurts. There were some things that we wanted to work on, especially late in the ballgame, that should help us as we go on to district play and into the playoffs, like learning to hold the ball and making our free throws,” Robinson said. “I wasn’t too happy or pleased with the way we closed out.”

The Vikings’ strong inside game helped draw defenders inside and space the floor, leaving Chavis Smith open to hit three 3-point baskets. Smith finished with 10 points.

“Once we get it going inside, he’s going to be open for some good shots,” Robinson said. “It’s important that he knocks them down.”

Jalen Allen was also key for Warren Central, with eight points, two blocked shots and four assists.
Eleven players scored at least one basket for the Vikings, showcasing the depth that Robinson said was very important for the victory.

“That’s what we’ve been trying to build the whole year,” Robinson said. “You don’t want a team to be able to key in on one or two people, and one thing that’s a part of our success is we do have some depth.”

Warren Central (14-3) takes on Provine on Tuesday and Vicksburg plays Ridgeland on Thursday.
Vicksburg has lost three games in a row and seven of its last eight.

“I know we’re in a storm right now, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” Carter said. “You kind of hate it for the seniors, but we have time to get it together. This season is rough, but I’m glad that we got that game behind us. My hat goes off to Bruce Robinson and Warren Central, because they’re doing a hell of a job and I wish them the best of luck the rest of the way, but we have to get ready for Ridgeland.”