Host of starters return to championship Vidalia team

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 25, 2000

After having a 25-6 regular season record and winning the District 3-2A championship in 1999-2000, is it possible for the Vidalia Lady Vikings to do better in 2000-2001?

Head coach Lillian Johnson believes this year’s team can.

&uot;With my seniors returning, I’m confident in the team’s chances (of repeating as district champions),&uot; she said.

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The Lady Vikings lost only one senior from last year’s team and have five seniors and three juniors returning for this season.

The returning seniors include Natalie McGraw, who plays at the wing position and averaged 23 points a game last season, and power forward Brendy Ellis, who Johnson describes as &uot;a strong player and a good rebounder.&uot; She averaged 21 points and seven rebounds a game.

Senior point guard Wendy Paul, who averaged 10 points and 3.5 steals a game, is also back. &uot;She’s the quickest player on the team and good on the press,&uot; Johnson said.

Although only 5-foot-six, small forward Tiyree Riles is one of the best jumpers on the team and is an &uot;excellent rebounder,&uot; Johnson said. Riles averaged eight boards a game last season.

Point guard Sharonda Anderson, who Johnson said is a good shooter and will see more playing time this season, also returns.

Another thing that will help the Lady Vikings this season is depth on the bench, something Johnson said was lacking last season.

&uot;(Junior) LaShonda Mitchell (5-8), who will play at the wing position, should help us out more,&uot; she said. &uot;(Freshman) Dominique Trimble (5-10) will help us with rebounding. Also, Gemecia Williams (sophomore, 5-0) is fast. She’s a real quick player.&uot;

Johnson said she is looking for the stronger bench to give her starters some rest during the season.

Vidalia will use a 2-2-1 press on defense to put pressure on the opposition.

Ferriday and McCall have the best chance of stopping another run at the district title, she said.

&uot;Ferriday didn’t lose anybody. They finished second in district last season and beat us in the last game of the season,&uot; she said. &uot;McCall has a very strong team. We were lucky to go up there and beat them. We have to take them one by one.&uot;

The Lady Vikings’ season starts on Nov. 11 with the Concordia Jamboree at Ferriday.

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