This is the 12th 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. 11 is a 63-61 overtime win over Natchez High in the Natchez High Invitational on December 9, 1999.

"That was our biggest win of the season," said former Viking guard Dariel Mays, who now works for a water company in Houma.

Vidalia beat Ferriday in the semifinals and Jefferson County in the finals to win the tournament and improve to 12-0 on the season.

The contest with Natchez ended with both teams scoring 56 points in regulation.

"We should have won that game in regulation, but we got content and relaxed a bit," said forward Jarvis Vaughn. "Coach Sanders ran us quite a big so we still had energy and adrenaline going into overtime. I was really pumped for this game because I grew up in Natchez, so I had people pulling for me on both sides. There was a lot of hype going into this game and it was a must win for me."

Vaughn, who lives in Houston, Texas, is a sexual abuse center supervisor for Fort Bend County ini Texas.

"Ronald (Ellis) and I talk about the old games all the time," Vaughn said.

Ellis played basketball at Grambling and is now the girls basketball coach at Delta Charter.

"They were big rivals back when we were in junior high," Ellis said. "J.T. West was there before David Haywood followed the next year."

Haywood is now boys basketball coach at Natchez High.

The Vikings trailed 16-11 after the first period, but pulled to within 28-27 at halftime.

The Vikings outscored the Bulldogs 7-5 in overtime.

Vaughn led Vidalia with 19 points,

Mays added 16 and Ellis 11.

"Dariel really stepped up in overtime," Ellis said. "He ended up hitting the game-winning shot."

"When Ron and Jarvis fouled out I knew I was the next option," Mays said. "I put it in my mind that I had to take over."

Vidalia lost to defending state champion Coushatta 71-69 in overtime in the first round of the playoffs in Vidalia to finish its season at 29-4. 

Vaughn and Ellis both fouled out of that game.



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