Vidalia Vikings top Natchez Bulldogs in high energy overtime matchup

Published 12:58 am Wednesday, November 29, 2017

In a back and forth matchup, Vidalia High School basketball coach Robert Sanders said the best thing he can do is rely on hope.

“You just hope you have a lead down the stretch and hope you can keep it that way,” he said.

Tuesday night, it worked as the Vikings held on for an 80-75 victory at Natchez High in overtime.

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“We had a few butterflies in the beginning, but I think we got over them after the first quarter,” Sanders said. “When it’s close, you can’t do anything but shoot layups — nothing but layups.”

The Vikings (1-1) were able to pull away during the extra period after Natchez’s Shontae Holmes missed four free throws within the final two minutes. Sticking to the plan, Brandon Vantree floated in two buckets in the final minute to seal the win.

“I think we just wanted it a little more,” Sanders said. “They all had it, which is good.”

Natchez coach David Haywood said despite his team rebounding from as much as a five-point deficit in the final minute of regulation, the Bulldogs were outmatched.

Izzy Holmes sank two 3-pointers, and Taylor Chasely added another to send the game into overtime, 68-68.

“They outplayed us, so they deserve the win,” Haywood said. “We were trying to seize the moment, but tonight we were flat at the wrong times. We had a lot of highs, but we had too many lows.”

Ray J. Ransom led the Vikings with 26 points, and Vantree added 20 to follow close behind. Vidalia had 10 different scorers on the night.

Sanders said overall, the determination was a great thing to see — especially over an area school.

“It says a lot because we have a tough district this year just like we have the past few years. Hopefully it will carry over,” he said. “This is one of the few times we have beaten them over here (in Natchez). A lot of them know each other, so there are definitely bragging rights.”

Izzy Holmes led Natchez (2-1) with 21 points. Shontae Holmes added 19 and Chasely had 17.

Haywood said with the loss, he wants to improve consistency.

“We come out and think that things are just going to happen,” he said. “It doesn’t work like that. Our guys worked hard all week, but I think we were a little too comfortable.”