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Missy Gators run away from Warren Central with big fourth quarter

The Vicksburg Missy Gators spent three quarters Saturday muddling along, trying to figure things out, and watching Warren Central remain uncomfortably close on the scoreboard.

Then they spent one quarter doing almost everything right and watching Warren Central’s upset bid become a distant memory.

Yakia Burns finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds, and Destini Sims scored 13 points as the Missy Gators ran away from Warren Central in the fourth quarter to win 68-36.

The score was 35-32 entering the final period, and then Vicksburg outscored the Lady Vikes 33-4 the rest of the way. Vicksburg was only 5-for-28 from 3-point range in the game, but four of its makes came in the fourth quarter.

“I think it was a combination of Warren Central’s team being worn down because I had so many girls, and we finally figured out a defense that would slow them down,” Vicksburg coach Troy Stewart said, adding that once a few shots started falling it became contagious. “Once you get something to go in, like a layup or two, or a free throw, the shots start to fall. We have been trying to get that done for a while. You have to start inside and work your way out.”

Warren Central (8-12) lost its eighth consecutive game as it limps toward the Region 4-6A tournament in 10 days. Leading scorer Aniya Sanders missed Saturday’s game with a sprained ankle, and coach Darein Hilliard said a young lineup simply ran out of gas after three quarters.

The Lady Vikes’ only field goal in the fourth quarter was a layup by Zy’kerri Segrest with 2:30 remaining. Segrest finished with 10 points, while freshman guard Jamaiya Sims scored 12. Jamaiya Sims left the game in the fourth quarter with a bloody nose suffered on a hard foul.

“We were not physically and emotionally strong enough to put together a whole ballgame yet,” Hilliard said. “I’m playing two freshmen and two sophomores. For three quarters they hung in there as long as they could. But physically and emotionally, it was like trying to stand in for a 15-round boxing match and we probably went about 12.”

Tiarra Jones added eight points and 10 rebounds for Vicksburg (16-8), which bounced back from a 66-62 loss to Region 4-5A rival Provine on Friday. The Missy Gators have won five of their last six overall, and will wrap up the regular season next week with home games against Clinton on Tuesday and Brookhaven on Friday.

Stewart said facing those two opponents will provide a measuring stick heading into the Region 4-5A tournament that begins Feb. 10 at Callaway.

“We’ve got two extremely tough opponents this week, and I want to fare well against those two, see if we’re playing as well as we can and gel before the district tournament. The two games this week are both a challenge,” Stewart said. “We scheduled them to see where we were and where we line up with the state. I knew both of those teams would be high in the playoffs and rankings. We wanted to know exactly where we fall in.”

Briarfield 58, Porter’s Chapel 22
Caroline Martin scored 23 points, Lillie Kate Thornton added 10, and Briarfield Academy beat Porter’s Chapel Academy in the Lady Eagles’ regular-season finale on Friday.

Brittnee Martin led PCA (7-14) with six points, and Anna Grace White finished with six rebounds.

PCA will face Benton Academy on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the first round of the MAIS District 4-2A tournament. The tournament is at Benton Academy in Yazoo City.

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 sports reporters in the paper's 137-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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