Gators let halftime lead slip away in loss to Brandon in 2019 debut

Published 5:20 pm Saturday, January 5, 2019

With a big week ahead, the Vicksburg Gators were trying to get a bit of a bounce from Friday’s home game against Brandon. They only added another mark in the loss column.

Willie Miller scored 16 points, three others added 10 apiece, and Brandon rode a third-quarter surge to a 56-53 victory over the Gators.

It was the second loss in a row for Vicksburg (8-6) after a promising three-game winning streak, and not exactly the way it wanted to start off 2019 and an important stretch of the season. Five of its next six games are in Region 4-5A, including two against perennial state power Callaway (11-5).

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The Gators host Callaway on Tuesday and Ridgeland (15-2) next Friday. Vicksburg coach Kelvin Carter said stealing a win from Callaway would be nice, but the bigger battle is shaping up between Vicksburg, Ridgeland and Germantown (4-10) for the No. 2 seed in the region tournament.

“We’ve got to get out here and be ready to play,” Carter said. “Ridgeland and Germantown, we’ve got to beat them. You’re not writing them off, but Callaway is Callaway.”

Who Vicksburg is still seems to be a mystery.

The Gators have alternated winning and losing streaks this season, looking good in some games and struggling in others. The matchup with Brandon showcased that tendency in one afternoon.

Devan Kiner hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter and Jamison Norfort scored six points in the first half to help stake the Gators to a 32-27 lead at halftime. Miller, however, scored half of his 16 points in the third quarter as the Bulldogs outscored Vicksburg 18-7 in the period.

“We missed so many shots around the basket it was ridiculous,” Carter said.

Brandon (14-4) led by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter, but Vicksburg was able to claw back and give itself a chance to send it to overtime in the final seconds.

The Gators had the ball with five seconds remaining, but a play off an inbounds pass never materialized and they wound up dribbling out the clock without getting a shot off.

“We had run a play for (Cameron) Butler to run off a screen, and Jermiyah (Brown) put on a dribbling exhibition,” Carter deadpanned. “It didn’t end well at all.”

Brown, the Gators’ point guard, finished with 12 points. Kiner scored a game-high 19 points — 10 of them during the fourth-quarter comeback — and Ty’Ron Moore netted seven.

Tyree Cochran, Jacquez Jackson and JaQuevios Tarvin scored 10 points each for Brandon, which won for the seventh time in eight games. Jackson had a double-double with 16 rebounds, while Justin Coleman finished with seven points, seven rebounds and five assists.

(G) Brandon 51, Vicksburg 36
The Vicksburg Missy Gators shot just 21.4 percent (12-for-56) from the field, missed all nine of their 3-point attempts, and fell to Brandon on Friday for their fifth loss in seven games.

Karmen Davenport led Vicksburg (10-6) with 10 points.