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Missy Gators’ miscues result in 54-47 defeat

Vicksburg’s Kendra Sims (14) tries to put up a shot against Hazlehurst’s YaShunda Williams.(Jon Giffin The Vicksburg Post)

[11/10/04]It started innocently enough, with a mishandled basketball. Then another. And another. Before the Vicksburg Missy Gators knew what had happened, the trickle had turned into a raging flood and they were on the wrong end of the score.

Hazlehurst forced Vicksburg into six turnovers in the last three minutes Tuesday. The Lady Indians converted the miscues into a game-ending 7-0 run and claimed a 54-47 victory in the first round of the Coca-Cola Classic.

“We had them right where we wanted them, and then the last two minutes we just didn’t get the job done,” VHS coach Mike Coleman said. “I don’t know if you can tell anything by the looks in the eyes, but it looked like there was some pressure on them. Instead of relaxing and taking their time and making a play, it looked like we got in a big rush. Sometimes you’ve got to slow down and see what you’ve got.”

Vicksburg dropped into the consolation bracket, where it will host Port Gibson on Thursday at 4 p.m. Hazlehurst will face Callaway Thursday at 7 p.m. at VHS.

Kristin Ellis led Vicksburg (1-1) with 12 points against Hazlehurst (3-1), Deirdre Bailey had 11 and Kendra Sims scored nine.

Sheba Smith paced the Lady Indians with 14 points, YaShunda Williams netted 13 and Jalissa Sandifer had 13 points and nine rebounds. TeAirrra Wilbert added eight points and eight assists.

Vicksburg got off to a fast start. Bailey hit three of the Missy Gators’ four 3-pointers in the first quarter to help them to a 16-8 lead. Hazlehurst went to the press early in the second quarter, though, and got right back in the game with a 13-2 run.

“We made three or four straight turnovers when they made their little run there,” Coleman said. “It was a game of runs, I guess, and they made the last run.”

The last run for Hazlehurst came right after the Missy Gators had tied the game with one of their own.

Jazmin Johnson scored five points for Vicksburg during a 7-2 spurt that tied it at 47-47 with 2:26 to play in the game. She also committed one turnover early in the run, and another with about 2 minutes to go.

Hazlehurst then came up with two steals that it turned into points, as well as a VHS turnover that allowed it to milk time off the clock before a missed shot. By the time it was over, the Lady Indians had scored seven unanswered points in about a minute and a half.

“We weren’t scoring too much, we couldn’t make any shots fall, but our defense came through at the end,” said Hazlehurst coach Freda Craft.

(B) VHS 78, Hazlehurst 43

Toney Ammons scored five of his 13 points in the last minute of the first quarter, getting Vicksburg started on a rout of Hazlehurst.

The Gators (2-0) led 20-13 after Ammons’ scoring binge, then oustscored Hazlehurst 18-4 in the second quarter and never looked back. VHS led by 21 points at halftime and as many as 42 in the second half.

Brandon Harper had a team-high 21 points for the Gators, Johnny Markham scored 14, and Fred Denton and Sedrick Williams each had 10. Vicksburg outrebounded the Indians 22-5 in the first half, although no players had more than five in the game.

Darryl Hilliard led Hazlehurst (0-3) with 15 points and Lemarian Sandifer had 14.