Provine edges Warren Central on buzzer-beater for JPS Tournament title
Published 10:55 pm Friday, December 28, 2018
JACKSON — Warren Central’s memorable run to the Pepsi/JPS Holiday Tournament championship game did not come with the happy ending it had hoped for.
Provine’s Deion Smith took an inbounds pass at the top of the key with 2.9 seconds left, drove into the lane and hit a layup as time expired to give Provine a 45-44 victory over the Vikings on Friday night.
Smith scored eight points, all in the second half, as Provine beat its Region 4-6A rival for the fourth straight time. Ro’Darrien Pendleton led the Rams with a game-high 19 points and Bramarion Warren also scored eight.
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Jabari Bowman led Warren Central (7-9) with 17 points and Jalen Glass scored 11.
Warren Central won three games in three days — all by seven points or less — to reach the boys’ JPS Tournament championship game for the first time.
The last of those was a 57-52 victory over Forest Hill in the semifinals on Friday afternoon.
P.J. Mims hit two 3-pointers during a game-opening 10-2 run that propelled Warren Central to a lead it never relinquished against Forest Hill. The Vikings led by 12 entering the fourth quarter but saw it get as close as two, at 54-52 on a 3-pointer by Rodreekas Bush with 1:20 remaining, as Forest Hill made one last push.
The Patriots, however, missed their last five shots — four of them 3-pointers — and Warren Central scored its last four points at the free throw line to hang on.
Warren Central’s tournament run snapped a four-game losing streak and gave it a bounce heading into its Region 4-6A opener Jan. 4 at home against Greenville.
WC will also play Provine twice during the region schedule, on Jan. 15 in Vicksburg and Jan. 25 in Jackson. Three of the Vikings’ next four games are within the region.
“That’s exactly what we needed, was a springboard coming into January. That’s what we talked about,” Warren Central coach Bruce Robinson said after the semifinal game against Forest Hill. “We had some issues that we’ve taken care of, but it’s moreso the guys. After Brookhaven (a 54-44 loss on Dec. 20), as we’re in the locker room and looked in their eyes, I could tell they were tired of losing. Even though we were losing, it was always, ‘Guys, we’re better than this.’ The schedule helped us out. We always would tell them we’re better than this, and now just to get that win and get some confidence and momentum is better than steroids in sports.”