VHS hoping homecourt advantage helps in playoffs

Published 8:03 am Monday, February 12, 2018

Vicksburg High will have a nice advantage in its division basketball tournament this week — homecourt advantage.

The Gators and Missy Gators will serve as hosts for the Division 4-5A tournament that begins Monday night. The home teams won’t take the floor until Tuesday, when the girls play Germantown and the boys face Ridgeland in a doubleheader beginning at 6 p.m.

“We’re hungry, we have something to prove. All of my ladies, none of them have a quit attitude, none of them have a we’re going to break attitude, we always think we can win the next game,” Missy Gators coach Troy Stewart said. “I’ve been trying to explain to them, it takes two. If we win the next two, you go from obscurity to district champs in the blink of an eye. We’re primed and we’re ready. Beginning this weekend, we’re going to work hard and we’re going to see where the chips fall.”

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The Missy Gators (13-12) and Germantown (17-8) split their two regular-season meetings, with each winning on the other’s home floor. Vicksburg won 60-53, and then Germantown took the rematch 55-53 on Feb. 2.

Though they went back and forth in the regular season, Stewart liked the Missy Gators’ chances in the last chapter of the trilogy.

“In all honesty, we probably match up with them better than Ridgeland or Callaway,” Stewart said. “The team makeup is pretty close to ours size-wise, speed-wise and process-wise. They force us to play a different style of basketball than we like to play, but in order to beat a good team like them, you have to monitor and adjust the game plan.”

Stewart was hopeful that being in front of their home crowd could spur the Missy Gators to a quality performance and a chance to win the tournament. They’ve lost their last three home games, but had won five of six before that.

“It’s nice to have it at home, simply because the girls all believe we can win at home,” Stewart said. “We have a pretty decent home record besides the last two games, and Warren Central, but they all believe we can win. I hope we have home court advantage, so I’m asking everybody in town to make sure they’re here for next week.”

In the second half of Tuesday’s first-round doubleheader, the Vicksburg boys (11-15) will put their home court advantage to the test against Ridgeland (17-8).

The Gators have been on a bit of a hot streak recently, winning six of their last nine games, but one of those losses came at home to Ridgeland on Jan. 26. However, the Gators took down Ridgeland earlier in the season on the road.

Ridgeland, on the other hand, is 5-4 over its last nine games.

VHS coach Kelvin Carter felt good about facing the Titans again, but said in order for the Gators to come out with the victory they needed to get back on track defensively. The 70-63 loss to Ridgeland was the only time in their last eight games that the Gators allowed 70 points or more.

“We battled with Ridgeland both times, but we match up with them pretty good,” Carter said. “The defensive effort has to stay the same as those six games that we won.”

Carter expects a hard fought game in the rematch, and hoped that the homecourt advantage could give his team a boost.

“Having the district tournament at home is very big,” Carter said. “You hope that would be an advantage for you, you always want to play in front of your home fans, and hopefully we have the edge, because we have a couple of days to get prepared in our own gym. The goal is to get to the district championship game on Friday.”

On Monday, Callaway and Ridgeland will play at first-round girls game at 6 p.m., while Callaway vs. Germantown boys will follow at 7:30.