All the tools must come together

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 3, 2001

VIDALIA – With the loss of only one player from last season, one would think the Vidalia Vikings should have a good chance of doing better than their 20-11 overall record and 4-4 record in District 3-2A.

That 4-4 district mark was good enough for third place and a spot in the Louisiana Class 2A playoffs. The Vikings of head coach Robert Sanders lost to state 2A finalist early in the first round.

However, that may or may not be the case. Sanders said the teams to beat in District 3-2A include district newcomer Rayville, the 2000-2001 Louisiana Class 3A state champion; McCall, the defending Louisiana Class 2A state champions; and Ferriday, a Louisiana Class 2A semifinalist last season.

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Vidalia is off to a 6-0 start and last weekend won the Vidalia High Ronnie Brown Memorial Tournament.

&uot;We’ve started off playing real well, then we hit a snag,&uot; Sanders said. &uot;The last three games we’ve struggled offensively.&uot;

In a 68-43 win at Sicily Island on Nov. 27, the Vikings failed to score in the first quarter.

Then came their own tournament and two nail-biting wins.

In their 60-59 semifinal win over Newellton on Nov. 30, they had a 42-28 lead in the third quarter before the Bears stormed back to tie the score at 59. That’s when sophomore guard Tony Hawkins hit the game-winning free throw with 4.8 seconds left.

Then in the championship game against Concordia Parish and district rival Ferriday, sophomore center Louis McNulty’s putback of a missed shot at the buzzer gave the Vikings a 33-31 win.

In addition to Hawkins and McNulty, other key players returning for Vidalia this season are senior point guard Jessie Banks, junior forward Ajay Warner, and junior guards Jessie Lyles and Roderick Randall.

&uot;We have the tools. We just have to put them all together,&uot; Sanders said. &uot;Hopefully, we’ll get better the next few games.&uot;