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Vidalia holds on vs. Avoyelles

VIDALIA — The Vidalia Vikings held off the Avoyelles Mustangs 79-70 in a game that was almost a fourth quarter collapse.

The Vikings took a 15-point lead heading into the final period, a lead that instead of being built on was almost surrendered.

“Down the stretch we didn’t play great. We had ill-advised passes and ill-advised shots,” head coach Robert Sanders said.

The fourth period was the only quarter in which the Vikings were outscored.

Vidalia led the Mustangs by two after the first period and by five at the half. In the third quarter, Vidalia outscored the Mustangs by 10. In the fourth, the Vikings allowed a surge of offense by Avoyelles, who scored 26.

Early in the game, Vidalia seemed overwhelming for the Mustangs, but was inconsistent at times. Vidalia took advantage of the poor passing and missed shots by Avoyelles, building a lead early, but also surrendered easy buckets with the aggressive defensive game plan.

“There were times were I felt we should have pulled out of the full-court press,” Sanders said.

With Vidalia’s full-court press resulting in steals and easy layups, the Vikings often found it difficult to transition back to the full-court press defense. The Mustangs took advantage by sending Hail Mary passes down court to open players for easy buckets.

Vidalia kept the tempo up while Avoyelles attempted to slow it down.

On the defensive end, Avoyelles stayed in a 3-2 zone with their big man, Justin Wilson, anchoring the middle. Wilson was the tallest guy on the court and Sanders knew about his capabilities, as well as the scoring threat that Jacquez Friels was.

“We knew it would be important to get a body on Wilson. We knew him and Friels from previous years and we wanted to get a body on them,” Sanders said.

And the Vikings did just that. Despite allowing Wilson to score 23 points, and Friels 25, Vidalia kept Wilson to only four rebounds.

Vidalia, offensively, out-rebounded the Mustangs 13-9.

In the third period, the Mustangs came out in a full-court press on the Vikings. However, the athleticism and court viof Vidalia resulted in easy assisted scores from inside the paint. The 15-point lead that Vidalia built in the third period was the deciding factor in the win for the Vikings.

Alvin Bell led the Vikings in scoring with 17 and Terrence Bauchman trailed him with 16. D.J. Polk scored 12.

Avoyelles girls 79,

Vidalia 21

The Lady Vikings surrendered 61 points in the first half against the Lady Mustangs of Avoyelles Friday night in a 79-21 loss.

Despite the first half collapse, the Vikings defense picked up in the second half, holding the Mustangs aggressive team to only 17 second half points. The lack of offense, however, did not shorten the gap on the scoreboard.

The Mustangs, despite holding a 46-point lead at the break, still full-court pressed the Lady Vikings. Their offense was stagnant in the second half, but the stranglehold the Lady Mustangs put on Vidalia kept their lead safe.

Kisha Swanson, for Vidalia, scored nine of the team’s 21 points.

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