Missy Gators rally, but fall to Germantown

Published 12:02 am Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Vicksburg Missy Gators showed resiliency, but not results, on Friday night.

The Missy Gators came all the way back from a 10-point deficit entering the fourth quarter but couldn’t close it out against Germantown. They missed three shots and turned it over three times in the final 90 seconds and lost 55-53.

Germantown’s Marvia Spann stole an inbounds pass and hit two free throws for the winning points with 7.5 seconds remaining.

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“I thought we had enough to win that game. We made a couple of critical errors right there at the end,” Vicksburg coach Troy Stewart said. “The girls fought back. I liked the resiliency. Resiliency is what we’re looking for. I’m hurt, but I saw good things, too. Just the last 30 seconds killed it.”

While disappointing, the loss didn’t have any tangible consequences for the Missy Gators (12-11, 3-3 Division 4-5A). They fell to the No. 3 seed in the Division 4-5A tournament and will still play No. 2 seed Germantown (14-9, 3-2) in the first round on Feb. 13 at VHS. The same matchup would have been in place had Vicksburg won on Friday, just with the seedings reversed.

“It makes absolutely no difference except the jersey,” Stewart said. “We’ll be playing at home. We’ll be playing Germantown again. We’ll just be in green rather than white.”

The Missy Gators did not score in the last 4½ minutes of the third quarter, which allowed Germantown to take a 45-35 lead into the final period. They ended that slump with five free throws by Eriel Bunch and a layup by Tiarra Jones and sliced the deficit to three in just 90 seconds early in the fourth quarter.

Ke’Mari Smith’s steal and three-point play finally gave the Missy Gators the lead, 53-52, with 1:04 left in the game. Germantown’s Mirial Cannon split a pair of free throws to tie it with 53.2 seconds left, and then the teams spent the final minute seemingly trying to throw the game away.

Vicksburg committed two turnovers and Germantown one — the latter a backcourt violation on an uncontested inbounds pass with 10.8 seconds left — to keep it tied. Following Germantown’s backcourt violation, Spann stole Vicksburg’s inbounds pass, drove to the goal and was fouled. She hit both free throws to end the stalemate and give the Lady Mavericks a 55-53 lead with 7.5 seconds left.

Vicksburg had one last chance, and got a clean look at a 3-pointer by Daija Reed. It was off the mark, and Germantown grabbed the rebound as time expired.

“We were looking for that, but we were looking for her to be set when she took it. We had 7.1 (seconds), so we had time to get it down. We found her on the kick and got the shot we wanted. It wasn’t the result we wanted, but it was a good shot,” Stewart said.

Bunch led Vicksburg with 14 points — on 12-of-13 shooting at the free throw line — and Smith added nine. Cannon led Germantown with 13 points, Briasha King scored 12 and Spann had nine.

(B) Vicksburg 80, Germantown 54

The Vicksburg Gators scored 22 consecutive points late in the second quarter and early in the third to break open a competitive game, and went on to rout Germantown.

Darius Johnson led the Gators with 18 points and eight rebounds, and Ke’Darrion Parson had 11 points. Kemari English scored 12 points, all on 3-pointers in the last three minutes of the first half to help start the decisive run.

Germantown sliced a 12-point deficit to five late in the half, and then the Gators scored the last five points of the half to go up 36-26 at the break. Germantown did not score in the third quarter until Brandon Baker’s putback layup of a missed 3-pointer with 3:28 to go. By then Vicksburg was ahead 53-28 and coasting toward a victory.

With the win, Vicksburg (10-14, 3-3 Division 4-5A) clinched the No. 3 seed in the Division 4-5A tournament and will face Ridgeland in the first round on Feb. 13 at VHS.

(G) Riverfield 42, PCA 39

Porter’s Chapel Academy had a chance to tie in the final 10 seconds Thursday against Riverfield Academy, but missed a 3-pointer and lost in its District 3-AAA finale.

Brittnee Martin led PCA with 11 points and Anna Grace White scored 10. Ellie Jo Barker led Riverfield with 15 points.

PCA’s boys lost 52-28 to Riverfield. Luke Yocum scored nine points and Glenn Alan Kittrell had eight points 14 rebounds for PCA.

Porter’s Chapel will host Tallulah Academy in its regular-season finale Monday at 6 p.m.
The PCA Lady Eagles will get another crack at Riverfield Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the District 3-AAA tournament. Riverfield, located in Rayville, La., is hosting it.

PCA’s boys will play Central Hinds at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday.

St. Aloysius will also play in the tournament. Its girls will take on Park Place Tuesday at 4 p.m., and the boys will play Park Place at 7:45.

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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