Vivians, Scott Central win with big 2nd half
At halftime Friday, Victoria Vivians had scored just seven points, had made just 3 of 12 shots and seemed flustered by Coahoma County’s double- and triple-teaming defensive tactics.
She had taken a couple hard spills to the floor, at least one elbow to the mouth. She had missed some shots she normally makes in her sleep. Her Scott Central team led by just one point in the state semifinals.
And it seemed her record-breaking high school career might end one game short of a state championship.
One guy came up to me courtside and said, “Man, I came out here to see Vivians because of all that stuff you’ve written about her. She looks pretty average to me.”
I admitted he was not catching her on her best day, but I did add that he might want to stick around for the second half.
Hopefully, he did.
Vivians scored 36 second half points to finish with 43 points, 26 rebounds and nine blocked shots. Scott Central advanced with a 72-58 victory.
The legend grows.
Vivians, the state’s and nation’s all-time leading scorer and a Mississippi State signee, will now play her final high school game in the state championship against Byers Thursday at 1 p.m. Her last prep challenge will be a huge one.
Byers of Holly Springs defeated Newton in the other Class2A semifinal game Friday. And Newton defeated Scott Central in the South State finals last week. And then there’s this: Byers has won three straight state championships at the 1A level.
Scott Central coach Chad Harrison said Vivians seemed to be pressing in the first half Friday. Maybe it was the huge Friday afternoon crowd that had showed up to watch the record-breaking phenom. Maybe it was the ball-hawking Coahoma defense.
“People don’t realize how much pressure Vivian is under right now,” Harrison said. “Everybody expects so much of her. She feels a lot of internal pressure to perform.”
It did not bother her in the second half. And she got a lot of help from her teammates.
“When Victoria struggled in the first half, some of other girls stepped up and made big shots,” Harrison said. “That was huge.”
It was. And then, when it mattered most, Victoria Vivians came up huge. As usual.