Vikings beat Greenville, advance to Class 6A state tournament

Published 11:08 pm Friday, February 15, 2019

In a league where margins are often razor-thin, the Warren Central Vikings created a mile of separation with their season on the line.

Jabari Bowman finished with 18 points to lead four scorers in double figures, and the Vikings routed Greenville 61-46 in the MHSAA Region 4-6A basketball tournament consolation game on Friday.

Warren Central (15-14) advanced to the Class 6A state tournament for the third year in a row. It will go on the road to play the second-place team from Region 3-6A, either Starkville or Murrah, in the first round on Tuesday.

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In the tournament championship game, Clinton beat Provine 67-63.

The Vikings had lost five of their previous six games, but jumped in front of Greenville early and stayed there. Bowman scored 11 of his game-high 18 points in the first half to stake the Vikings to a 31-22 lead. They extended that to double digits by the end of the third quarter and held Greenville at bay in the fourth.

Point guard Daniel Smothers, who missed most of Tuesday’s semifinal loss to Provine with a thigh bruise, returned to the lineup Friday and scored 13 points. He was a perfect 6-for-6 at the free throw line.

P.J. Mims added 12 points and Jalen Glass scored 11. As a team, the Vikings made 21 of 29 free throw attempts.

Shermichael Young led Greenville (14-16) with 14 points and Morgan Green scored 11.

(G) Provine 51, Warren Central 37
Warren Central only trailed by three points entering the fourth quarter of its Region 4-6A girls consolation game, but fell apart in the fourth quarter and had its season come to an end.

Provine went on a 17-3 run to gain separation and advance to the Class 6A state tournament.

Warren Central did not have a senior in the lineup on Friday and was without its leading scorer Aniya Sanders, who tore two ligaments in her right knee last week. Coach Darein Hilliard called it a disappointing loss, but he also said he saw some good progression out of his young players over the course of the season.

The Lady Vikes finished the season with a 10-17 record.

“They played like a bunch of freshmen. It showed up tonight. You see some good things and some promise for next year,” Hilliard said. “It’s very disappointing, because we still had some good wins this season. It’s like we never could put it together. That’s all part of the process of trying to change the culture.”

In the girls’ championship game, Greenville remained undefeated by beating Clinton 58-48.