Vikings vanquish Vicksburg

Published 2:39 am Sunday, December 5, 2021

One win won’t change the culture of Warren Central’s boys’ basketball team the way its players and coaches want to. But it might be a good start.

Gaylon Turner hit two free throws with 1:45 remainining to put the Vikings ahead for good, and they held Vicksburg High scoreless the rest of the way to win 48-45 on Saturday.

Warren Central (3-6) snapped a four-game losing streak against the Gators (6-6).

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“This is a big win. I’d be lying to you if I told you it wasn’t a big win for them, and for the program,” Warren Central coach Keith Williams said. “This was something they had marked on the calendar. They had been looking forward to it. They’ve been hungry. I think we’re heading in the right direction.”

Vicksburg finished a long, difficult week with its second loss in three games. It beat Natchez 65-44 on Friday night, but couldn’t finish the season sweep against Warren Central 18 hours later.

The Gators went 16-for-30 from the free throw line and missed their last four shots from the field.

“That’s a very tough loss,” Vicksburg coach Kelvin Carter said. “We’ve been struggling. This is Game 12, and at the free throw line we’ve been having woes the whole season. We’ve just got to find a way to make a free throw. If we make free throws, that’s the difference in the game. They made free throws and we didn’t make free throws.”

Vicksburg beat Warren Central 56-53 when they played three weeks ago, and this one came down to the wire as well. Vicksburg had several big runs during the game, but Warren Central answered each time to keep it close. Finally, Turner’s free throws with 1:45 left put the Vikings ahead 47-45 and set up a frantic — if sloppy — finish.

Vicksburg missed three 3-pointers, a shot in the lane, and three free throws in the final 105 seconds. Warren Central committed two turnovers to give the Gators a spark of life.

“No ball movement. It’s hard to get a bucket when you’re trying to go one-on-one. The offense got stagnant because we wouldn’t move the ball and run our sets,” Carter said.

Darrton Allen hit the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity with 2.5 seconds left to put the Vikings ahead 48-45 with 2.5 seconds left. Taylor Mitchell then stole the inbounds pass to seal it.

“It was a good win. We were focused,” Allen said.

Allen finished with nine points for Warren Central, Mitchell scored eight and Turner had seven. Deonte Segrest scored a game-high 18 points, with 14 of those coming in the first half.

Kameron Brown led Vicksburg with nine points, while Henderson and Malik Franklin scored eight apiece.

“We’ve been working, just trying to get them to buy in,” Williams said. “We want to change this culture. I want to change the concept in Vicksburg. When they talk about basketball, not just in Vicksburg but the state of Mississippi, I want them to think about Highway 27.”

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 reporters in the paper's 140-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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