Lady Vikes advance in state tournament

Published 6:25 pm Tuesday, February 20, 2018

No matter how it comes, the Warren Central Lady Vikes were reminded Monday that a win this time of year is always a welcome sight.

Amber Gaston finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots, and the Lady Vikes shook off a sluggish first half to beat Hernando 44-31 in the first round of the MHSAA Class 6A girls basketball state tournament.

Warren Central (20-8) advanced to face Columbus (18-5) on the road in a second-round game Friday at 7 p.m. It’s the second year in a row that Warren Central has reached the second round of the state tournament — both times by beating Hernando in the first round — after not accomplishing that feat once in the previous 10 years.

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Warren Central has not been to the Jackson portion of the state tournament since the 2006-07 season, but can get there by beating Columbus. Warren Central and Columbus have not played each other in at least a decade.

Hernando (26-4) had its best season since 1982 come to an early end.

“A win now is good no matter what,” Warren Central coach Jackie Martin-Glass said.

Hernando led 15-3 at the end of the first quarter Monday, but only scored 16 points in the last three periods combined. The Lady Tigers held a four-point lead at halftime, then were outscored 15-4 in the third quarter and 25-8 in the second half.

Cocoa Fultz had 15 points, five rebounds and seven steals for Warren Central, while Rachel Greer led Hernando with 11 points.

As a team, Warren Central had 23 steals and eight blocked shots.

The Lady Vikes have held three of their last four opponents to 31 points or less — two have scored fewer than 20 points — and won all of those games.

Warren Central is allowing an average of 40 points per game for the season, and has not given up more than 60 in any of their 28 outings.

“We just played pretty good defense. We settled down and got the ball inside and made some shots,” Martin-Glass said.

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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