Vidalia, JC girls sweep

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 11, 1999

The Natchez Hoops Classic may not have any district implications, but it is loaded with something more important, area bragging rights. Jefferson County’s Shaquita Smith poured in 24 points to lead the Lady Tigers over Vidalia 59-50, capping off a three-game tournament sweep. Vidalia’s boys also brought home the gold as Jarvis Vaughn lead five Vikings in double figures in a 91-65 victory.

In the opener, Jefferson County looked to ride the hot hand of highly recruited Shaquita Smith who averaged 33 points in tourney play and 25 points for the season. Her game preparation comes down to fundamentals. &uot;I just drive to the basket and get to the line. It has been a fun tournament and we want to finish the task tonight.&uot;

Tthe Lady Vikings managed to keep it close, however. Brendi Ellis would surprise the Lady Tigers early with eight first quarter points with the Lady Vikings up 15-13 after one.

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By the time the second half rolled around, both teams had trouble solving each other’s full court pressure.

Ellis and Natalie McGraw kept their team within striking distance only down 43-40 to set up the fourth period.

But it was the deadly combination of Smith and Cotoya Winston’s inside play that made the difference as the Lady Tigers eventually pulled away.

Winston finished with 14 for the winners. Ellis and McGraw chipped in 15 and 13 tallies respectively for the hard-luck Lady Vikings.

For the boys, the Vikings came out with something to prove in Adams County. After a overtime win against Natchez and a win over rival Ferriday, a letdown against Jefferson County had the potential to tarnish a great tourney for Robert Sanders’ squad.

The Tigers managed to keep the game close in the first quarter with an heroic effort by Willie Williams who finished with a game-high 28 points.

But it was a very balanced Viking attack that made the difference as they lead comfortably 44-30 at the half.

Vidalia extended their lead to as much as 25 points.

Derrick Johnson, who finished with 15 points, quickly poured in six points in a decisive run which put the fire out of the upset-minded visitors.

Vidalia coach Robert Sanders reflected on what a sweep in the tournament meant for his team. &uot;Nobody will be saying we have not played anybody now,&uot; he said. &uot;We haven’t gotten the respect we deserve and that insulted the kids. Sweeping the tournament may change what people think of us.&uot;

Dariel Mays and Ron Ellis poured in 16 and 15 points respectively. Slashing guard Andre Singleton chipped in 13.