Vikings stuff Crowley in second half in regional round

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 4, 2009

VIDALIA — The Vidalia boys basketball team recovered from an unsatisfactory first-round playoff win with a 77-44 smashing of Crowley High in the regional round Tuesday night in Vidalia.

The Vikings and Gents played close in the first half, with Vidalia leading by 8 points at halftime, but a 25-10 run in the third quarter put the game solidly in the Vikings’ hands.

“At first we came out shooting threes like I didn’t want us to do, but we settled down and started playing more patient ball, which worked out for us,” Vidalia coach Robert Sanders said.

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The Vikings had defeated Jena 67-50 in what Sanders thought was much too close of a game Friday, and he was satisfied with the way his team answered in the second round.

In fact, he was a bit surprised at how well the Vikings played.

“I expected a much closer game,” he said. “They had no clue about this team, so they took them seriously. They got the killer instinct this time. We wanted to play as if we were behind, so I guess we were in that mindset.”

Vidalia was down 4-2 to start the game, not scoring its second basket until more than three minutes into the game. But after that basket was sunk and the Vikings went into a full-court press on defense, they quickly began to take charge for a 14-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter went back and forth much the same way, with Vidalia scoring 5 more points than Crowley.

But the Vikings made it clear who would dominate the second half, going on an 11-0 run and not letting the Gents score until nearly four minutes into the third quarter.

The Vikings caused turnover after turnover, mostly steals, in the third quarter.

“We’d heard that when they’re behind they go to a man defense, so that was to our advantage that they did that,” Sanders said. “We pressed — we press all the time — and they found some holes in it, but it was working pretty well, so we stayed with it.”

Sanders said he had expected the Gents to take more 3-point attempts than they did — Dexter Scott made the only one of the night for Crowley.

Sanders also said he had expected to play a slow-tempo game because Crowley liked to play fast. But the plan changed early in the game, and it worked out for the Vikings.

“We found that it did work to our advantage to go faster, so that’s what we tried to do,” he said.

The Vikings (30-1) will play the winner of the Port Allen-Albany game at 6 p.m. Friday.