Vidalia falls 48-47 to Winnfield in Class 3A playoffs

Published 12:38 am Saturday, February 23, 2008

Vidalia — With a high playoff seed on the floor, very few expected this one to end like it did.

The No. 24 seeded Winnfield Tigers (12-15, 4-2) upset the No. 9 seeded Vidalia Vikings in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs 48-47.

“We knew we could play with these guys,” Winnfield head coach James King said. “They were a tough opponent, but we came through in the end.”

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The game was close the entire way, and the biggest lead Winnfield would get would only be five points.

Vidalia suffered from cold shooting the entire night and Winnfield used that to their advantage.

The Tigers also played an effective zone defense against the Vikings, who couldn’t find a way to penetrate the defense.

“Our two big guys, Gerald Hardwell and Mario Gilbert, came through for us when we needed them,” King said. “They made those clutch shots for us.”

In the third quarter it looked as though Winnfield was taking control of the game, but the Vikings came back and took the lead at the end of the quarter.

In the fourth, Gary Stewart scored often and his presence helped keep Vidalia within reach of the victory.

With 38 seconds left in the game, Vidalia took a brief one-point lead thanks to Stewart knocking down two free throw shots.

Winnfield came back though and hit two free throw shots of their own to take a 48-47 lead.

The Vikings took the ball down the court, but couldn’t get a shot off and a last second attempt by Vidalia didn’t go in.

Gerald Hardwell led Winnfield with 11 points while teammate J. Morriss added eight.

Gary Stewart led the Vikings in scoring with 17 points whil Torrey Dixon added nine and Quan Riley chipped in five.

It’s the second straight year that Vidalia has lost at home in the playoffs.