Hands up, hearts up: Vidalia girls spirited despite district loss

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 14, 2018

Slowly but surely, Vidalia coach Gary Stewart is working to develop the Lady Vikings into a team that is better than its former self.

Saturday afternoon Vidalia fell to Delhi Charter, but Stewart said he saw numerous things he hasn’t seen all season.

Trailing by as many as 11 points in the second half, Vidalia fought back to just a five point deficit at the final buzzer, 32-27.

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“We actually played,” Stewart said. “It was exciting, and I know I was really into the game. That’s something we should build on. I didn’t want to go in (the locker room) and tell them everything they did wrong, because that’s for later. I want them to feel good about playing a good game.”

One of the biggest improvements in the loss, Stewart said, was finishing out the effort on defense. The Lady Vikings forced six turnovers in the fourth quarter to aid the late spark.

Transferring on to the court from Stewart and the players on the Vidalia bench, the Lady Vikings (4-13, 0-5) followed a simple motto down the stretch — hands up.

“We tend to fall lazy on defense. It’s been a big issue we have had all year,” Stewart said. “I feel like when you remind everyone to get their hands up, it makes them think about playing defense. Today, I saw a lot of tipped passes because our hands were up. I haven’t really seen that the whole season, so I think its good that they are talking. It’s hard to play defense when you’re quiet.”

The strong effort in the final frame, Stewart said, was something that instantly changed his team’s mentality about losing. The Lady Vikings scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including five each from Jamya Smith and Kaya Washington.

“Even though we did lose, I can see the difference in losing while not playing hard versus losing and playing hard,” Stewart said. “They feel good about this one.

“I feel like we are getting better and better every game.

“We can’t focus on the big picture, because everyone wants us to hurry up and be a winning team. As a coach, it’s been working because even though we haven’t won a district game yet each game I see us getting better, and that’s what I want as a young basketball team.”

Smith ended the game with 14 points to lead Vidalia, while Washington has 10.

Vidalia (boys) 53, Delhi Charter 45

Vidalia improved its district record to 3-2 Saturday afternoon with a 53-45 win over Delhi Charter.

Three players ended with double digits for the Vikings (9-8) including leading scorer Jaquan Wilson with 17 points. DeMikal McCoy added 12 additional points, while Brandon Vantree ended with 11.

Both teams will be back in action Tuesday when they travel to General Trass.