By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
CLINTON – Victoria Vivians came through when her South all-star team needed her most.
The 6-foot shooting machine from Scott Central scored six of her game-high 23 points down the stretch to help lead the South to a 68-57 victory against the North in the 49th annual Mississippi Association of Coaches All-Star Girls Basketball Game at Mississippi College’s A.E. Wood Coliseum.
“I had a good game because I had good players around me,” said Vivians, who connected on three 3-pointers and was named the game’s offensive MVP. “I had a lot of fun. I have a lot of friends from the North and South.”
Northeast Mississippi high school basketball fans remember Vivians’ 42-point game in her team’s win against New Site in the MHSAA Class 2A state championship game.
Vivians enters her senior season as one of the nation’s top recruits. She has narrowed her favorites down to four: Mississippi State, Louisville, Kentucky and Florida.
“I’m not going to let (recruiting) bother me this season,” she said. “One day I’ll be ready to pick, but I’ve set no timetable. It could be anytime.”
The North, which trailed by as many as 17 points early in the second half, cut the South’s lead to 46-41 on the strength of 3-pointers by Pontotoc’s Kayla Russell and Provine’s Aja Williams.
Vivians scored four points during an 8-0 South run that pushed its lead to 54-41.
“I thought we were playing together as a team, but we were rushing our shots,” Russell said. “Their shots were falling. Rebounding was also a problem for us. They were taller.”
The South’s lineup featured seven players 5-10 or taller.
Starkville guard Blair Schaefer led the North with 17 points.
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Her scoring effort included three 3-pointers.
“I think we had better guards,” she said. “We were trying to beat them up and down the floor. When our shots weren’t falling we looked inside.”
Schaefer, the daughter of Mississippi State women’s coach Vic Schaefer, won the pregame free throw shooting contest.
Bay High’s Christa Reed scored 16 points for the South.