Gators beat Port Gibson to stop slide

Published 8:45 pm Saturday, January 20, 2018

By Cody Thomason
The Vicksburg Post

The Vicksburg Gators broke out of their slump on Saturday by beating Port Gibson 68-61 in the Red Carpet Basketball Classic.

Darius Johnson led three players in double figures with 14 points as the Gators (6-13) snapped a five-game losing streak. It was their first win in 2018.

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“It feels good to get a win,” VHS coach Kelvin Carter said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve seen one of those.”

It was a close, hard fought battle the whole game, with Vicksburg holding a five-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter. Port Gibson was able to score a couple of quick buckets, but ultimately the Gators’ balanced offensive attack proved too much for the Blue Waves to handle.

“We’re just continually trying to gain more floor experience. We go through spurts in the game where we have mental lapses, we’re still growing,” Carter said. “We just continued to tell the guys to fight. Port Gibson is a pretty good team, they’re going to make runs, but what we have to do is stay with our game plan and try to defend and try to work on blocking out and rebounding and go out and win the war in the paint. Their big guy was pretty good, but I think we won the war in three of the four quarters.”

The Gators did a good job of spreading out their scoring attack, with Johnson leading the way. Ke’Darrion Parson scored 12 points, Jaymeson Norfort had 11 and three emphatic blocks, and Tyron Moore had seven points.

Jarius Bryant led Port Gibson with 17 points and D’Arius Wilson scored 13.

Carter said the unselfishness by his team on offense was very important in the victory.

“That’s what we’re trying to do is get these guys to grasp the team concept,” Carter said. “Don’t make it about the individual, make it about the team. It’s easier when everyone has their hands in it.”

(G) Vicksburg 56, Forest Hill 46

The Vicksburg Missy Gators (9-6) battled until the final minutes in the Red Carpet Bowl Classic to take down Forest Hill.

With five minutes left in the game, Forest Hill had cut the deficit to two, but then Yakia Burns tipped in a bucket to start a Vicksburg run. Pleasure King was able to add a layup and a free throw, and Tiarra Jones added an offensive rebound and two tough buckets inside to seal the win.

It was Vicksburg’s second victory this season over Forest Hill (3-15). It won 54-33 on Dec. 12 in Jackson.

“I think the girls did a good job persevering through,” Vicksburg coach Troy Stewart said. “That’s the second time we’ve played them, so it’s very hard to beat anybody twice in a row. Forest Hill played a good game today, they played really tough.”

Jones led all scorers with 22 points. King added 15, Burns finished with seven and Kemari Smith had six.

“The inside game today was probably the best we’ve had all year,” Stewart said. “That’s how we were resilient today. Every game has been different for us.”

Stewart felt one of the keys to winning such a tight game was on the mental side.

“I’m telling them this is preparation for district. Every time we had a timeout or were in the locker room or had a dead ball, I wanted them to keep their composure,” Stewart said. “That’s more important for us right now.”

Stewart said playing in a tight game was good preparation for the road ahead. The Missy Gators have two division games on back-to-back days, at Ridgeland (14-4, 1-1 Division 4-5A) on Monday and at Germantown (13-7, 2-1) on Tuesday night.

“We’re going to be in those types of games a lot now,” Stewart said. “We’ve been beating people by 20, or getting beat by 20. Now we’re in the meat of the season and we’re going to have those close games. I told them to persevere, we basically have to fight through everything.”