Vikings take tough loss to Northwest Rankin
Published 8:06 am Wednesday, February 1, 2023
FLOWOOD — Two weeks ago, Warren Central was blown out of the building by Northwest Rankin. On Tuesday, the rematch went right down to the wire.
As nice as an upset would have been, the Vikings will have to settle for progress and a moral victory.
Brendan Brown made three 3-pointers and finished with 17 points, LeVionne Lindsey scored 18, and Northwest Rankin beat Warren Central 60-57 on Tuesday to lock up the No. 1 seed for next week’s MHSAA Region 6-6A boys’ basketball tournament.
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Northwest Rankin (17-10, 6-0 Region 6-6A) had beaten Warren Central by 30 points on Jan. 17 in Vicksburg. This close loss, which followed an upset of Terry last week, gave the Vikings (9-11, 3-3) a bit of momentum heading into the postseason.
“This ain’t the time to put your head down now, because we’ve got to come right back (Monday) and be ready for Terry,” Warren Central coach Keith Williams said. “We’re getting there. I’m proud of the way we played and the way we handled ourselves. It’s just a few things we’ve got to touch up now.”
Warren Central trailed 20-11 at the end of the first quarter Tuesday and struggled to put a dent in that margin most of the game. Northwest Rankin led by as many as 16 points late in the third quarter.
The Vikings didn’t fold, though, and put together a late run to have a chance at the end. They got to within three points, at 58-55, with just over a minute to go. Northwest Rankin dribbled about 30 seconds off the clock before the Vikings were able to foul, and Lindsey hit two free throws to make it 60-55.
A basket by Deonta Segrest got the Vikings back to within three points, but the Cougars broke the press, avoided WC’s attempts to foul, and ran out the final 20 seconds without having to shoot another free throw.
“The biggest thing was we missed on defensive assignments,” Williams said.
The Vikings will now turn their attention to the postseason. They finish the regular-season Thursday at Callaway, and then face Terry Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the first round of the Region 6-6A tournament.
The region tournament is at Northwest Rankin. The host school is the No. 1 seed and plays No. 4 Pearl on Tuesday night.
Warren Central split its two regular-season meetings with Terry (18-6, 3-2), losing by seven on the road but winning 63-59 at home last Friday. The winner of round three next week will clinch a spot in the region championship game as well as the Class 6A state tournament.
“They know they can beat them. They knew that from the first time we played them.,” Williams said. “Monday we’re on a neutral court and we’re just going to play basketball, and however the ball bounces we expect to win. We’re not going to back down from anybody.”