Vidalia boys making most of situation with eyes set on playoff win

Published 12:15 am Saturday, February 10, 2018

This season has been a learning experience for Vidalia High School, coming with its own unique surprises.

Despite the winding road, Vikings coach Robert Sanders said he has faith his team can still accomplish great things. As a start, Vidalia remained patient Friday night, wisely looking for open shots as it defeated General Trass, 71-63.

Following a loss to Delhi Charter on Tuesday, Sanders is doing his best to process every game as it comes.

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“Our last game looked worse than out first game,” he said. “Better yet, this shows how far they have come since the last game. They have done a lot better, and we preach patience to them in practice so I think it’s finally settled in.

“We should be peaking, but I think we are somewhat declining. They are young, so I shouldn’t be too shocked, but I think you have to just know your personnel.”

The Vikings (15-16, 6-6) opened Friday’s game with a 3-pointer from freshman Jaquan Wilson well behind the arc. Throughout the first half, they led by no more than five points also keeping General Trass in check at the same time.

“We did a better job of shot selection — step by step,” Sanders said.

Vidalia came out strong in the second half to quickly pull over General Trass by double digits. It led at the end of the third period, 58-44.

However the Panthers went on a 13-2 run in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to just three points and Sanders showed a little frustration.

“I’m not a big yeller to begin with, but I do holler at them during the game,” he said. “We have to have a little more heart and cut down on these turnovers.”

The Vikings got back into gear as the clock continued to wind down. To end the game, three players ended in double figures to round out seven scorers

Ray J. Ransom led the way with 29 points, while Cam’Ron Randall scored 11 and Wilson ended with 10.

“I was proud of the way they hustled. Had we done this the past few games, we would have been better off,” Sanders said.

“The help from everyone is very good because we have to rest them sometimes. The starters can’t play the whole game so we have to have somebody to step in.”

Ultimately, Sanders is on a mission to win the Vikings’ first playoff game in eight years. Vidalia last made it past the first round in 2010 when it won the Class 3A State Championship.

“We’ve had good teams, but sometimes we just fall in unlucky circumstances,” Sanders said. “We have to win a playoff game.”

The Vikings won’t know their postseason seeding until after they wrap up their regular season at 7 p.m. Tuesday for senior night against Tensas.

In the latest power rankings, Vidalia was ranked No. 17, which would garner a road game in the first round against the No. 16 seed.

“Even if we go on the road, I think we can pull an upset,” Sanders said. “It would be great, especially for their young egos. I think it will give them quite a bit of confidence, I really do.”