This is the first of 22 stories counting down the top 21 games in Robert Sanders career as head boys basketball coach at Vidalia High.

Sanders retired at the end of the 2019-20 school year.

Sanders began coaching at Vidalia in 1991 and compiled a 476-336, advancing to the state championship game in 2009 before leading the Vikings to the Class 3A state championship in 2010.

At No. 22 is a tough loss to St. Helena in the West Feliciana Tournament in December of 2018.

The Vikings led 20-8 after the first period and 31-20 at halftime before the Hawks came storming to tie the game in the fourth quarter.

The Vikings had a chance to win the game in regulation, but were unable to get a shot off at the buzzer.

In overtime, St. Helena led 67-66 in the closing seconds. The Vikings missed a shot at the buzzer that would have won the game.

"It was disappointing, but the guys really showed me a lot with their effort in this contest," Sanders said. "I was pleased with the way we competed."

Vidalia playmakers Jaquan Wilson and Malachi Matthews both fouled out in overtime.

"We had a size disadvantage, as we did against a lot of teams," Sanders said.

Wilson led the Vikings with 20 points, while RayJay Ransom and DeMikal McCoy both scored in double figures.

"We just didn't make good decisions at the end, but I think we learned a lot from that game," Ransom said. "I really respected Coach Sanders as a coach and person. I love how we bonded."

Ransom is now playing basketball at Springhill College in Mobile, Al.

"We haven't been able to play any games because of COVID-19, but I like the city and I like the program. It is pushing me to become a better player."

 Vidalia actually went 2-2 at the tournament, defeating Parkview Baptist and Northeast High of Zachary.

Vidalia finished that year ranked No. 26. The Vikings fell to Port Allen 54-45 in the first round of the playoffs.

 

 

  

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