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Missy Gators fall to Murrah in JPS Tournament championship game

The Vicksburg Missy Gators had a great Christmas break. Heading into the new year, however, they’ll still have a bitter taste in their mouths.

Vicksburg won three games in three days to reach the championship game of the Pepsi JPS Tournament in Jackson, but had its run end there with a 47-45 loss to Murrah on Saturday night.

“When you get to that game, you want to perform well and win it. I don’t think we performed well enough to win it,” VHS coach Troy Stewart said. “We had to beat two district teams to get there, and you want to win those games. But it’s a stain on your heart to lose your last game of 2019.”

The Missy Gators (10-6) beat Forest Hill, as well as Region 4-5A rivals Provine and Callaway, to reach the championship game. They beat Callaway 50-35 on Saturday morning in the semifinals as Sha’Kora Knight and Yakia Burns each scored 14 points. Jayda Henderson added seven points and eight rebounds.

The championship game was played about five hours later, and was tight all the way through. The Missy Gators cut a five-point deficit with 45 seconds left to two with 1.3 remaining, and had a chance to tie with two free throws.

They missed the first one, and then intentionally missed the second to try for a rebound and tying basket. The shot hit the backboard and not the rim, however, and it was ruled a violation. Murrah got the ball and was able to inbound it and run out the clock.

Karmen Davenport led the Missy Gators with 19 points. Destiny Sims added nine points, and Brandi Dillon grabbed 10 rebounds.

“The bench was kind of light tonight. I only had 10 girls and two of them fouled out,” Stewart said. “It came down to the end of the game.”

Vicksburg had its four-game winning streak snapped, but will still head into 2020 having won seven of its last nine. Its first game of the new year will be Jan. 7, at home against Callaway.