Vikings survive McCall’s 47 fourth-quarter points in win

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 22, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; Maybe a 35-point lead heading into the fourth quarter is safe against most folks.

But not McCall.

Vidalia’s Vikings got hot in the first quarter and had a huge lead late before emptying the bench to finish the game. McCall, however, had other ideas while scoring an amazing 47 points in the fourth quarter to make things interesting.

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The Vikings then went back with their starters and pulled away for a 100-87 win Tuesday night in Vidalia to go to 3-0 in District 3-2A.

&uot;We felt like even though they’re unranked they were the team to beat in district,&uot; Vidalia head coach Robert Sanders said. &uot;They were state semifinalists last year. That was our third team out there (in the fourth). We got to where we were giving up too many points and not scoring enough, so we had to go back with our starters.&uot;

The starters did the job just like they did at the start of the game. Although they finished on fire, the Dragons started out ice cold as they fell behind 24-2 with over a minute left in the first quarter.

They just returned the favor in the fourth quarter and cut the lead to 18 with 2:21 left before Sanders called a timeout and inserted the starting five back in.

Ajay Warner hit a basket right after the break, and the Vikings got back in a rhythm. Tony Hawkins made one of two free throws to put the score at 99-78, and Warner hit one of two free throws with 16 seconds left to crack the century mark on the scoreboard.

&uot;We had it in our minds to go out here, play hard and do what we’ve got to do,&uot; said forward David Wilson, who finished with 18 points. &uot;We know in the playoffs it’ll be real hard. It’s been something like two or three years since we’ve beaten them. This is a big win because we really wanted to beat them. We had to come out and play as a team.&uot;

That’s what the Vikings (17-4) did at the start, sending the Dragons (13-8, 1-1) scrambling to find a rhythm on offense. Vidalia kept going to Wilson and post Louis McNulty on the inside and got several turnovers early out of its 1-2-2 halfcourt defense and zone press to take the 24-2 lead.

McNulty’s fast-break layup with 1:26 left finished the run and put the Dragons down 22 before the end of the first quarter.

&uot;They got away from the mechanics of the game,&uot; McCall head coach Mitch Riggs said. &uot;We just got off on our execution, and a

little frustration set on from the officiating. I’ve got to get the kids to settle down playing on another guy’s court. I’ve got three of four kids who came back from the semester to help me, and they made some fouls and turnovers.&uot;

McCall kept pace more in the second quarter to keep the game from slipping away as Vidalia held a 50-23 lead at the break. But in the third quarter the Vikings went back to pounding the ball inside against McCall’s man-to-man defense, and Warner hit a basket with 3:48 left to put the lead at 61-31.

&uot;We went inside on the pass to the big men as well as driving to the goal,&uot; Sanders said. &uot;They had the height, but we thought we were stronger inside. I think we did a good job (against their penetration). When they did get past our guards, our big men would either block them or limit them to one shot.&uot;

The Vikings kept firing away in the fourth quarter and put the lead at 83-46 with 6:02 left on a basket from Jessie Lyles, but that’s when the Dragons started to finally heat up on offense and limit their turnovers.

After Tony Hawkins converted a three-point play with 5:06 left to put the lead at 86-49, the Dragons went on a 23-4 run over a span of less than three minutes as a three-point play from Brandon Guiltery capped the run and cut the lead to 90-72 with 2:21 left.

That’s when the starters returned for Vidalia.

&uot;Of all the years I’ve been playing them (Vidalia), this is the best team I’ve seen,&uot; Riggs said. &uot;We got down in the second half and played much better. They got the ball inside and did what they wanted to. They really played well inside, and their guards handled the pressure well. They made their free throws and played like a championship team when they’re at home.&uot;

McCall girls 74, Vidalia 45

The Lady Vikings (1-13, 0-3) trailed by 16 at the break before McCall got hot in the third quarter to blow the game open.

McCall started the second half on a 15-1 run as a basket from Donna Fair at the 3:12 mark capped it for a 51-19 McCall lead.

McCall post Bettina Fountain spent much of the third quarter on the bench in foul trouble, but she still hit 22 for the game, including six in the fourth quarter and nine in the second quarter.

Gemecia Williams led the Lady Vikings with 13 points, while Kimberly Yearby had 12. Shemica Williams went out in the first half with a twisted ankle.