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Holiday hustle: Teams benefit from tourney over break

Ferriday High School’s Trenace Morgan drives to the basket Monday against a Madison defender during the 2014 Sicily Island tournament, where Vidalia and Block boys and girls teams also competed. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

Ferriday High School’s Trenace Morgan drives to the basket Monday against a Madison defender during the 2014 Sicily Island tournament, where Vidalia and Block boys and girls teams also competed. (Ben Hillyer / The Natchez Democrat)

Sicily Island — The 2014 Sicily Island tournament couldn’t have come at a better time for participating teams. With Ferriday, Vidalia, Block and Sicily Island all participating, the extra work over the holiday break allowed players to stay fresh and coaches to get their final look before district play.

Ferriday (girls) 2-1

After losing on a buzzer-beater to start the tournament against Madison, the Ferriday Lady Trojans went on a tear, taking down their next two opponents easily.

Head coach Lisa Abron said her team learned a lot in their three games, but most importantly, to play to the final buzzer.

“We learned not to take anyone for granted and to give it our all 100 percent the entire game,” she said. “We had a nice lead in the Madison game and I think they got comfortable. That comes with being a young team. We also learned to overcome after a loss.”

Abron said her team isn’t completely ready, but heading into district play she said things are starting to come together.

“We still have a lot of things to work on as far as defense and playing as a team,” Abron said. “A lot of times, we aren’t focused in the beginning of games. We have two more non-district games, so hopefully we can turn that around.”

Ferriday (boys) 1-2

Ferriday head coach K.G. Watkins thought his team got the short end of the stick, being forced to play in the last game each day, but the Trojans were able to keep things interesting, winning one game and dropping two.

Ferriday started the tournament with a loss against Madison, but came back with a convincing win against Franklin Parish.

In their final game, they fell to Vidalia by three.

“We had glimpses of what we can be,” Watkins said. “We are just dealing with a lot of youth and immaturity right now. With this group, it is how mentally tough we are going to be. If we are mentally prepared and tough, we are going to be OK.”

Watkins said he is shooting to have his team peaking for district play.

“We have been playing strong teams, and hopefully that will help us,” he said. “We are hopefully going to peak at district time.”

Vidalia (boys) 2-1

Vidalia started the tournament with a three-point win against Sicily Island. They followed that with a five-point loss to Madison then next day, but were able to finish the tournament on a winning note, defeating Ferriday in their final game.

“Overall I think we did a good job,” Vidalia head coach Robert Sanders said. “We are steadily getting prepared for district and the competition helped us do that.”

All of Vidalia’s games came down to the wire, and Sanders said that was a good thing for the team.

“That is important because we don’t learn a lot from a blowout,” Sanders said. “In a close game, you have to be more patient and execute a game plan.”

Vidalia (girls) 1-1

The Vidalia Lady Vikings started the tournament on a high note, taking down Sicily Island in convincing fashion. The Lady Vikings would fall in their other game in the tournament to Madison, but head coach Fred Marsalis said he was pleased by his team’s performance.

“We did very well,” Marsalis said. “Small mental breakdowns and layups cost us in the loss.”

Marsalis said his team is now playing with a lot of confidence and are competing at a high level.

“The kids are looking at things now in a matter that they can win games,” he said. “They are going into games thinking they can win. They are believing in themselves, and the games we’ve lost, we haven’t lost by much.”

Marsalis said he and his team were glad they were able to get some work done, even though school wasn’t in session.

“Holiday tournaments are always good,” Marsalis said. “You want to give the kids some time away, but it is good to keep them on task.”

 

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