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Julius Wilson guides Vidalia past Caldwell Parish in big win

Vidalia High School’s Julius Wilson takes a shot while surrounded by Caldwell Parish High School defenders during a game Friday. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Vidalia High School’s Julius Wilson takes a shot while surrounded by Caldwell Parish High School defenders during a game Friday. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

A win against Caldwell Parish Friday night gave Vidalia an opportunity to avenge an earlier loss to the Spartans as well as get back into the mix for hosting a playoff game.

Following a 75-65 win against Caldwell Parish at home, the Vikings’ third straight district win (3-2), junior point guard Julius Wilson felt he and his teammates turned in their best performance yet.

“Before the game, we got it in our mind that we’re going to come out with a different passion,” Wilson said. “We just came out had fun and played our game. I really think this is our finest game of the season.”

The Vikings fell behind 5-0 at the start of the game, but a steal and layup conversion by Wilson in the second minute of the game would set the pace for the rest of the first half. With their speed, ability to spread the ball around and effectiveness in the paint, the Vikings grabbed their first lead at the 2:40 mark in the first quarter. From there, the Vikings never trailed again, separating themselves with a 25-9 second quarter showing.

“I would say we played great for the first three quarters,” Vidalia head coach Robert Sanders said. “Toward the end, we got a little sloppy with our passes, but we were up by 24 at one point in the third quarter.”

By switching up zone defenses, the Vikings were able to feast on multiple Caldwell turnovers, as Wilson made multiple steals and either finished at the other end or dished off to Overton Lewis or Demarco Brown underneath the basket. Brown led all scorers with 22, while Lewis provided 11. Wilson led the team in assists, steals and scored 17 for the Vikings. Vidalia’s Malik Jefferson scored 12 points, with all of his points coming from behind the arc.

Sanders was glad to see his squad continue its winning streak, and with the win, he hopes to inch closer to getting into the top 16 in power rankings, which would allow his squad to host a first-round playoff game.

Before the Vikings improved to 12-9 on the season, the Lady Vikings fell to the Lady Spartans 61-35.

A sluggish start kept the Lady Vikings from getting any momentum, as Caldwell took a 7-4 lead into the second quarter. The first field goal made by either team came at the 2:30 mark of the first quarter.

“We played with them all the way if you take the first quarter out of it,” Marsalis said. “We just couldn’t get that first quarter to go.”

Things went from bad to worse for the Lady Vikings when Tierra Bell drew her fourth foul early in the third quarter, forcing her to sit the bench for most of the period.

Without Bell present, Caldwell Parish used its press defense to create steals and outscore Vidalia 28-9 in the third quarter, taking a 48-23 lead into the final quarter.

“We did get a little contribution from the bench, but it wasn’t enough without Tierra,” Marsalis said.

Bre’Honor Harris led the Lady Vikings with 11 points.