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Caldwell Parish tops Vidalia

Vidalia High School’s Julius Wilson gets past Caldwell Parish High School’s Tremont Wooten for the basket during Tuesday night’s game. Despite taking the lead in the third quarter, Vidalia fell to Caldwell Parish 61-59. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

VIDALIA — The Vidalia High School boys’ basketball team was in position to start its district schedule off with a big district win, but two late turnovers got in the way Tuesday night.

The Vikings led 60-59 with 1:30 left in the contest and managed to run one minute off the clock before a turnover gave Caldwell Parish the ball. The Spartans took it the length of the floor, drew a foul and Ben Vanderslice nailed two free throws to give Caldwell the lead.

The Vikings were looking to regain the lead on their next possession but turned the ball over a second time, and Caldwell followed that with one free throw by Tremont Wooten to go up 61-59.

Vidalia had one final shot, but Isiah Thompson’s last-second three-point attempt fell short after a questionable no call when it looked like his arm was hit.

But Vidalia head coach Robert Sanders said his team made poor decisions for much of the final period.

“It was not only (the two turnovers), but ill-advised shots contributed to it, and the non-foul call,” Sanders said.

Sanders said the Caldwell Parish player that may have fouled Thompson on the last play came up and told him he made contact on the shot once the game was complete.

The 61-59 defeat dropped the Vikings to 3-14 overall on the season, but more importantly, it hurt the Vikings in the LHSAA District 3-3A standings, Sanders said.

“We needed that game for two reasons,” Sanders said. “We didn’t want the loss in district, and a win would have helped us with power points, because they are ranked pretty high.”

After one period of play, it looked like Caldwell Parish was going to get out of Vidalia with an easy win. The Spartans were hitting most of the shots they threw up in the first quarter and led 27-16 at the first break.

Vanderslice scored 12 of his game-high 26 points in the first period to lead the Spartans.

Vidalia cut into the lead in the second quarter. Julius Wilson scored six of his team-high 20 points in the period, and Vidalia trailed 36-30 at the half.

The Vikings dominated the third quarter 20-10 and led 50-46 going into the final frame that proved to be the difference.

Vidalia led by as much as seven points in the second half but saw it slip away in the fourth quarter.

“We still don’t know how to finish out a close game,” Sanders said.

There were bright spots for the Vikings, Sanders said.

“We have better patience on offense, and we were able to hit some (outside) shots and drive and create some shots,” he said.

Terrell Virgis had 14 points for Vidalia, and Deion Brown added 10.

Vidalia (3-14, 0-1) will host Buckeye High School Friday.

Caldwell Parish girls 52, Vidalia 32

The first and fourth quarters made the difference for the Caldwell Parish girls’ basketball team in its win over Vidalia Tuesday night.

The Lady Spartans jumped out to a 21-12 lead after one period, and then outscored the Lady Vikings 17-9 in the final period to escape Vidalia with a 52-32 win.

The loss dropped Vidalia to 0-1 in the district, but head coach Fred Marsalis said the Lady Vikings could take a few positives out of the loss.

“We saw some good things,” he said. “The kids hustled and didn’t give up. It’s going to be a tough at times, but we are going to be competitive (in the district). It just wasn’t tonight.”

Fran Duson led the Lady Vikings with 12 points in the game.

Vidalia (3-11, 0-1) will host Buckeye Friday.