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Vikings recent victories don’t come easy but come earned

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Sicily Island’s Devion Dunbar jumps to try and block Vidalia’s Julius Wilson’s layup in the first half of the boy’s game Tuesday.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat —
Sicily Island’s Devion Dunbar jumps to try and block Vidalia’s Julius Wilson’s layup in the first half of the boy’s game Tuesday.

Vidalia — The Vidalia High School Boys basketball team is learning how to win the hard way.

The team’s wins don’t come easy but definitely come earned.

When it comes to closing out close games, the Vikings know how to get the job done as they have won at least five games this season by five points or less.

Tuesday was no different for the Vikings as they survived against Sicily Island High School 62-60 at home.

Isiah Thompson remained Vidalia’s go-to guy, as he scored 28 points, while his right-hand man Julius Wilson added 10 much-needed points in the effort.

But the duo, who often times account for more than half of Vidalia’s total offense, is not what wins the games in close situations.

It is the team’s defense.

Vidalia head coach Robert Sanders praises players like Curtis McNulty for doing the dirty work, which often times goes unnoticed.

“Curtis played better on defense and blocking out, and the rest of the team did a good job on defense,” Sanders said about his team’s efforts.

As the Vikings get deeper into the season, Sanders said the team would rely more on defensive efforts than scorching the nets.

The Vikings play again at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Marksville High School.

Natchez High School

NATCHEZ — Losing to Wingfield and Brookhaven High School in consecutive district games was a heart breaker for Bulldogs fans, but assistant coach David Haywood said those losses showed him a lot about his team in this stretch of the season.

“We have played half of the teams in our district now, and I told them our district is still up for grabs, because Wingfield has to come to our gym,” Haywood said. “At any given night, any team can be victorious. It is about who has the most complete game that night. And in the district tournament, you have just one game, and it determines everything.”

Wingfield downed Natchez High School (11-6, 1-2) 75-68 Friday in a competitive road game that kept the Bulldogs on their heels. De’Arius Griffin put up 30 points in the contest.

Haywood said Griffin’s performance was fueled by his ability to keep the game simple.

“He got back to the basics and not settling for jump shots,” Haywood said. “He drove the ball well and just let the game come to him.”

Despite the loss, Haywood said he saw a lot of positive strides from his players, and he hopes to be able to have that effort more consistently as the Bulldogs prepare to host Vicksburg High School at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Ferriday High School

Ferriday — The Ferriday High School Trojans (5-13, 1-2) showed promise in their game against Winnfield High School Friday, but their effort wasn’t enough to grab the win, as they were ousted 63-60.

Ferriday head coach K.G. Watkins said when it comes to close games, the team’s youth shows.

“I was a little disappointed in a few areas of that game,” Watkins said. “We played well, but we are not a great free throw shooting team. We’ve worked on it, but we have to get better.

“To lose by three points and to miss 10 free throws shows we could’ve won that game. We are a young squad and adrenaline and nerves take over when you talk about freshmen going to the line.

“It’s a learning experience.”

Watkins said he still has a lot of hope left in the season despite the recent woes.

“We still have seven games left in district, so we still have a chance to pull this out. We just have to be more consistent,” he said.

Ferriday plays against River Oaks High School Tuesday, and Watkins said it would be a big deal to get a win at home.

“This game is going to be big for us,” Watkins said. “We have had the last four games on the road, so to have a five-game home stand is important for us to try to get those wins. If we can win the first home game, it would propel us into the next four games.”

Ferriday plays River Oaks at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.