Basketball Roundup: Vikings snap out of slump; Gators, Flashes win district games; PCA’s Smith goes off again

Published 12:31 am Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Stuck in a slump and falling behind in the MHSAA Region 2-6A boys’ basketball standings, Warren Central desperately needed something good to happen on its road trip to Ridegeland Tuesday night.

Gaylon Turner brought the positive vibes and, more importantly, plenty of points in the clutch.

Turner scored a game-high 29 points, including nine during a decisive late-game run, to lead the Vikings to a 62-54 victory over Ridgeland.

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Warren Central (10-11, 1-3 Region 2-6A) earned its first region victory after losing five of its previous six games.

“We needed it a lot. It gave us good energy. We needed that win,” Turner said.

Garrett Orgas added 16 points for the Vikings, and Roosevelt Harris scored seven. Khameron Snow led Ridgeland with 19 points and Stevent Watkins scored 13.

Neither team led by more than five points until Turner went to work in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter. The senior made a pair of free throws with about 2 1/2 minutes remaining to put the Vikings ahead 51-50 and begin what turned into the decisive 11-0 run.

Turner finished a breakaway with a nice reverse layup, then converted a three-point play to make it 56-50 with two minutes to go.

Roosevelt Harris added two free throws and Turner sank two more to push it to a 10-point lead with 54.6 seconds remaining.

“It feels good, because we haven’t done that in a long time. When we come together as a team, we do stuff like that,” Turner said.

Morris Hammond and Snow each made two free throws in the final minute to pull Ridgeland (13-7, 2-2) back within six. The Titans missed their last six shots from the field, however, which allowed Warren Central to stay in front.

Harris made two more free throws with 19.5 seconds to go for the final margin.

“Defense. I feel like all the other games we’ve played the past couple of weeks, we haven’t been playing good defense. We locked in on with our defense and that made us play good as a team,” Turner said.

Two of Warren Central’s recent losses were by four points or less, and another was by nine. Coach Keith Williams was hopeful that pulling out a close game can give the Vikings a boost heading into a stretch of five consecutive home games.
Warren Central hosts Columbus on Friday and Vicksburg High on Jan. 16.

“We’ve been playing good ball, it’s just minor mistakes that we’ve been making,” Williams said. “This is a good group of guys. They work hard. They deserve it. We fell short in a couple of games we should have won because of small things we didn’t do, and we did it tonight.”

Vicksburg 67, Neshoba Central 64
Kameryn Bailey scored 22 points, including 12 in the second half, to keep Vicksburg High undefeated in Region 2-6A.

Jaylin Jackson added 11 points, all in the first half, for the Gators (16-3, 4-0 Region 2-6A). Davian Williams and Tyler Henderson scored 12 apiece.

Jordan Ben led Neshoba Central (11-9, 1-3) with 23 points and Isaiah Newton scored 15.

Vicksburg won its sixth game in a row. It will play at home Friday at 6 p.m. against Ridgeland.

Hillcrest Christian 60, Porter’s Chapel 38
Severe McNeary made three 3-pointers and scored 12 of his 17 points in the first quarter as Hillcrest Christian used a fast start to bury Porter’s Chapel Academy (7-3, 2-1 MAIS District 4-3A).

McNeary’s sharp outside shooting helped Hillcrest race out to a 20-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. Jaivyn Carter scored 18 of his game-high 24 points in the second half to keep Hillcrest comfortably ahead.

Ty Mack led Porter’s Chapel with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Gavin White scored 10 points.

St. Aloysius 49, Providence Classical 45
Anthony McCloud finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists, and St. Aloysius’ boys’ basketball team stayed perfect in 2024 by beating Providence Classical on Tuesday.

Korey Sims, Sadler Lambiotte, Carson Gleese and Carson Henderson all scored six points for the Flashes in a balanced effort. Carter Henderson also had seven points, and Sims grabbed eight rebounds.

St. Al won its second game in a row since New Year’s.

In the junior high game, Keller Bradley had 13 points, six rebounds and six steals to lead St. Al to a 30-20 victory. Dru Gleese added nine points and Evan Mallard six for St. Al. Walt Andrews contributed five points and four assists.

St. Al will host the Jackson Victors Thursday at 6 p.m. Only the junior high and varsity boys will play.

Girls
Ridgeland 53, Warren Central 14
Laci Buchanan made three 3-pointers in the second quarter and finished with a game-high 15 points to lead Ridgeland past Warren Central in Tuesday’s girls’ game.

Raniya Fisher added 12 points for Ridgeland, and Jordan Austin scored nine. The Lady Titans scored 24 points in the second quarter to take a 39-11 lead.

Shay Hodge made two 3-pointers and led Warren Central with eight points.

Neshoba Central 81, Vicksburg 23
Zharia Leflore and Katelin Williams scored 17 points apiece to lead four players in double figures as Neshoba Central (19-1, 4-0 Region 2-6A) routed Vicksburg High (5-16, 2-2).
Erica Lyons added 12 points and Lanayah Henry scored 11 for Neshoba Central

Porter’s Chapel 74, Hillcrest Christian 33
Jae’la Smith had her second consecutive 40-point game, finishing with 44 on 16-of-28 shooting as Porter’s Chapel Academy (9-0, 3-0 MAIS District 4-3A) remained undefeated.

Smith scored 42 points in a win over River Oaks on Monday, and only needed 24 hours to set another season-high. She made four 3-pointers, and also contributed 11 rebounds, seven assists and seven steals.

Lauren Madison also had 18 points and 14 rebounds for PCA, and Marley Bufkin finished with nine points and three assists.

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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