Missy Gators finish regular season with win over Warren Central

Published 1:18 am Saturday, February 3, 2024

With their seeding for the MHSAA Region 2-6A tournament more or less settled, and a struggling opponent that wasn’t expected to offer much resistance, the Vicksburg Missy Gators took the opportunity Friday to get everybody ready for the postseason.

Ten players scored for Vicksburg as it blitzed Warren Central 52-18 in the finale to the girls’ basketball regular season on Friday.

“I’m trying to get the younger girls acclimated, get them an opportunity to play some minutes that are meaningful,” Vicksburg coach Troy Stewart said. “I thought they did a good job defensively trying to do some of the things we’ve been working on in practice. We’re still lacking on offense a little bit, but we’re getting there.”

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Leading scorer Kierra James had another big night, going for a team-high 19 points. She scored nine of those in the second quarter, when the Missy Gators turned a seven-point lead into a 37-14 halftime advantage.

No other players scored in double figures, but the Missy Gators made up in quantity of scoring what they lacked in high-end quality.

Carjessa Albert, a reserve post player, finished with seven points and six rebounds. Freshman Kenley Henderson had six points and seven rebounds. Several other seldom-used back-ups and recently promoted freshmen also got in the scorebook both as a reward for their work this season and a glimpse at the next one.

Vicksburg only has three seniors — James, Rodrianna Hall and Terri Boyd — on the roster. Hall had six points and four steals Friday and Boyd scored three points.

“I’ve learned a lot about these young ladies and who’s going to be playing the major minutes next year. That type stuff. I’m proud of what we’ve done so far,” Stewart said. “I was under the impression we’d be right under .500. We’re a little less than that. But we won some big games and four or five of the games we lost were by two or three. We’re right there on the cusp of being .500. We’ve done a good job.”

Now the Missy Gators (8-18, 5-5 Region 2-6) will turn their attention to the region tournament that begins Monday at Callaway High School in Jackson. The full schedule was to be finalized during a coaches’ meeting Saturday morning, but Vicksburg will be the No. 4 seed and face Columbus in the first round.

The top four teams advance to the MHSAA Class 5A state tournament, so winning in the first round will send the Missy Gators on to the next level of the postseason.

“The outlook is simple. It’s not real difficult at all — win enough to go on,” Stewart said.

Stewart added that getting to the state tournament would be a valuable learning experience for his younger players.

“It’d be great, simply because all of them are young except for the three seniors. It’ll be good for us. We’ve just got to find a way to get out,” he said.

While Vicksburg is trying to get to the state tournament, Warren Central is looking to avoid an undesirable achievement. Friday’s loss dropped its record to 0-27 overall and 0-10 in the region.

Janiya Scroggins and Maliyah Croom led Warren Central with four points each Friday, and Jakyah Perkins scored three.

The Lady Vikes did not make a field goal in the second half.

Warren Central will be the No. 6 seed in the region tournament and face Ridgeland in the first round.

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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