Vicksburg sweeps Clinton; Missy Gators are 5-0 for first time since 1997

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, November 21, 2018

For a few moments, it looked like the Vicksburg Missy Gators might turn in a turkey of a performance. Before long, however, it was all gravy.

The Missy Gators held Clinton scoreless for more than eight minutes in the second half, long enough to turn a 10-point deficit into a comfortable lead, and remained undefeated with a 61-46 victory on Tuesday.

Vicksburg improved its record to 5-0 and reached Thanksgiving undefeated for the first time since the 1997-98 team was 7-0 at the holiday.

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“We’re starting the season real well. The girls are responding to all of the stuff we’re trying to put together, and I’m proud of the performances up to this point. We didn’t schedule anybody that was soft. Everybody we’ve played has been tough and they’ve found a way to win all five of them,” VHS coach Troy Stewart said.

Clinton (4-1) took a two-point lead into halftime and scored the first eight points of the second half to go up 40-30. It barely scored again.

The Missy Gators clamped down defensively, stopped committing the turnovers that allowed Clinton to pull ahead, and forced a few of their own. The result was a 19-0 run that didn’t end until Kim McBride converted a three-point play with 5:11 left in the fourth quarter. That made it 49-43, and Clinton only scored one more basket, a 3-pointer by Summer Johnson, the rest of the game.

“I don’t think we dominated them. I think we forced them to play a style of ball they didn’t want to play,” Stewart said. “They wanted to sit in that zone for a while and stay in it. When we got that one-point lead I was trying to force them to play us man, because I knew person-for-person we had quickness on our side.”

McBride scored a game-high 21 points for Clinton, but 15 of those came in the first half. Jamiyah Martin added 11 points.

Jayla Sims and Yakia Burns led a balanced Vicksburg attack with 12 points apiece. Sims scored eight points in the fourth quarter.

Shakora Knight added nine points and Karmen Davenport seven for the Missy Gators. Dajia Reed had six, on two 3-pointers. One of Reed’s 3s came early in the fourth quarter to give the Missy Gators a 45-40 lead.

“When she made that 3 to give us a little cushion to pull them out and play man. That made a difference for us,” Stewart said.

(B) Vicksburg 63, Clinton 59
Vicksburg High coach Kelvin Carter has been pleased with what 6-foot-6 forward Devan Kiner has brought to the team this season. It wasn’t hard to see why after the senior forward’s late-game performance against Clinton.

Kiner hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 30.5 seconds remaining, then had two steals and two key free throws after that to lead the Gators to a win.

Kiner finished with 13 points to help rescue VHS after it blew a 10-point lead in the second half.

“The addition of Devan has helped us a whole lot. His basketball IQ is No. 1. He’s good for our team and our leadership. I prayed this summer for the Lord to send me a leader within the group. I didn’t know he was going to send me a whole ‘nother specimen,” Carter said.

Vicksburg’s Greg Jenkins scored 11 of his team-high 16 points in the second half, and Jaden Williams added 10. Vicksburg (4-1) has won three in a row heading into a pair of tough games next week against Wingfield and Raymond.

“I’m very happy. The guys have been battling, working so hard throughout the summer and offseason, and it’s starting to pay off,” Carter said. “Madison (Central) and this game were similar. In the past, we probably would have folded up. I think the experience and senior leadership helped us.”

Vicksburg was playing its second game in less than 24 hours, after pasting Jim Hill 90-55 in the River City Challenge on Monday night. It started the second quarter with a 10-0 run to take a double-digit lead, but was never able to extend it very much.

Clinton (4-4) kept the margin between seven and 10 points until making its run in the fourth quarter. Tyshawn Armstrong hit back-to-back baskets, the second off a steal by Quandarius Studaway, to give the Arrows a 59-57 lead with 55 seconds remaining.

“It was frustrating, but I watched (Clinton) play Wingfield last week and they were down 41-17. With two minutes left, they had a chance to tie the game. They’re a very resilient team,” Carter said.

Armstrong’s baskets capped a 17-7 run, but it turned out to be Clinton’s last gasp. Kiner drilled a 3-pointer to give Vicksburg the lead again, and then ended Clinton’s last two possessions with steals. He hit two free throws with 9.6 seconds to go to make it 62-59.

Jenkins hit one last free throw with 2.5 seconds left for a four-point lead. Jenkins was just 4-for-10 at the line in the fourth quarter.

“We missed a ton” of free throws, Carter said. “Jenkins usually knocks them down. He knocked the main one down. That last one was real big. This turkey is going to be a little bit tastier on Thursday.”

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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