Lady Vikes drop game to Northwest Rankin, miss chance at No. 1 seed for region tournament

Published 8:09 am Wednesday, February 1, 2023

FLOWOOD — Since it needed a convincing victory Tuesday to overtake Northwest Rankin for the No. 1 seed in the MHSAA Region 6-6A girls’ basketball tournament, it wasn’t that disappointing that Warren Central didn’t get the job done.

What was disappointing was that it didn’t even come close.

The Lady Vikes scored one point in the first 11 minutes of the game, then rallied too late to dig out of a 20-point hole in the fourth quarter. The end result was a 65-51 loss to Northwest Rankin that dropped them to the No. 2 seed for next week’s region tournament.

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“We were in a position where we could have been fighting for a No. 1 seed, past winning. We could have been trying to run up some points,” Warren Central coach Arnissayur Robinson said. “But you didn’t even put yourself in a position to win, let alone try for the No. 1 seed. That’s very disappointing.”

Warren Central (15-8, 4-2 Region 6-6A) needed to win by at least nine points on Tuesday to win a point differential tiebreaker with Northwest Rankin (17-10, 6-0). That possibility was pretty much erased by a dreadful offensive performance in the first half.

The Lady Vikes did not make a field goal until Jae’la Smith dropped in a layup with 5:19 left in the second quarter. Northwest Rankin led 28-12 at halftime, and by 20 points at the end of the third quarter.

Warren Central did make a spirited charge late to make things interesting. Zion Harvey drained four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, the last with two minutes left to pull the Lady Vikes to within 56-49.

Northwest Rankin finished the game on a 9-2 run, however, to win comfortably.

Harvey finished with 13 points for Warren Central, and Smith scored a game-high 20. Ta’Miya Sims had seven of her 11 points in the fourth quarter.

Zamiya Brown led Northwest Rankin with 15 points.

“It’ll definitely give us hope going into the district tournament,” Robinson said of the late comeback. “That first half put us into a sinkhole. To see some light toward the end, we’re trying to pick up off of that next week. That first half? I don’t want to see that team again.”

Warren Central will finish the regular season Thursday, with a road game at Callaway. A return trip to Northwest Rankin for the Region 6-6A tournament is after that, although the Lady Vikes will not see the hosts right away.

Warren Central will play No. 3 seed Terry Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. No. 1 seed Northwest Rankin plays Feb. 7 against No. 4 seed Pearl. The championship and consolation games are all on Feb. 10.

The top three teams in the tournament advance to the MHSAA Class 6A state tournament.
Robinson said she likes her team’s chances — as long as they play like they did in the fourth quarter Tuesday, and not like they did in the first three.

“Not with the team I saw in the first half. We don’t have a chance in the world with that team,” Robinson said. “If you see those teams you’ve got to come with it. That first-half team I saw tonight, we cannot see that again if we want to make it out of district.”

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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