Vidalia beats Davidson in nail-biter

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 3, 1999

Vidalia point guard Wendy Paul proved that the size of one’s heart is more important than height or speed Friday night.

Paul’s fourth-quarter heroics, combined with the steady effort of Brendy Ellis’ game-high 23 points, helped conquer the Lady Warriors from Davidson 68-62. The win kept the initial Ronnie Brown Memorial crown in Concordia Parish.

Vidalia coach Lilian Johnson had many reasons to be concerned other than an earlier Davidson win in overtime against her Lady Vikings. &uot;We have to stay out of foul trouble, and zone six foot Anglia Lee effectively. We hope our conditioning will be a key in a close game.&uot;

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Similarily, Davidson coach Steve McLachey knew the Lady Vikings would crash the boards challenging Lee. &uot;We must get defensive rebounds to get our fast break going,&uot; he said. &uot; Our running game will determine the outcome.&uot;

From the opening tip, foul trouble would saddle Davidson with Lee and playmaker Myesha Vinson called for two quick fouls. However, Vidalia could not take advantage as the contest changed leads often in an acrobatic first quarter.

As the second quarter began, the Lady Vikings started to pull away with a Natalie McGraw three point play to put the bulge at 20-14 with 6:02 left in the half. However, Davidson went on a 13-4 run led by the sharpshooting of Cymone Marshall. Considering the Lady Warrior foul problem they were more than happy to be up 33-32 at the break.

Paul and Vinson would duel offensively as the visitors maintained their slim lead. Another Davidson run gave them their biggest lead at 49-42 with three minutes in the third. Ellis would carry the scoring load late in the frame setting up a thrilling final period.

As the team scored at will, Lizzie Purcy put the Lady Warriors up 56-49 with under five minutes to play. But as play intensified conditioning became a huge factor as the Vidalia full court pressure began to take its toll. Paul would start to take over the game, creating offense with her inspired defensive play. Her poise on the foul line led the Lady Vikings to a final 19-6 run which helped avenge that earlier overtime loss. Paul finished with 16 points. After the game an elated coach Johnson credited the play of her star guard. &uot;Wendy was the key in the fourth quarter,&uot; he said. &uot;I’m thrilled with the win and to see our conditioning making a difference.&uot;

Vinson finished with a team-high 18 points and was helped by Marshall’s 10 tallies for Davidson. Vidalia’s defense held Lee to only nine points and only a handful of rebounds.