Vikings prep for semis

Published 1:28 am Wednesday, March 11, 2009

VIDALIA — Last time Vidalia played in the Class 3A Boys Top 28 Tournament, their stay ended quite quickly.

This time, coach Robert Sanders hopes the Vikings can hang around a little longer.

Vidalia, the No. 2 seed, plays third seeded Patterson at 8 p.m. today in the Cajundome at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette in the semifinals.

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The tournament — which consists of the semifinal and championship games of all seven of the LHSAA’s classifications — actually began Monday, and Sanders is glad his team’s first game isn’t until today.

“The last time, we had the misfortune of playing in the first game on the first day,” Sanders said. “We didn’t have long to get adjusted to the situation. Everything was rushed. Hopefully we’ve countered that this time.”

The team arrived in Lafayette Tuesday and practiced at a local high school. They will have a practice at the Cajundome this afternoon before tonight’s game.

“We came down here early to get a feel of the atmosphere,” Sanders said. “The team is pretty loose, just like they have been the entire playoffs.”

Vidalia comes into the game off of a 38-point victory over Port Allen in the quarterfinals.

It was its second consecutive 30 or more point victory in the playoffs after they won its first round game by 17.

Patterson, meanwhile, enters tonight’s contest after winning a tight 70-67 decision over Winnfield.

The lack of a close game in the playoffs does concern Sanders somewhat.

“That is a concern,” he said. “We’ve been cruising along too easily. We had a close game for a half against Avoyelles not too long ago, so hopefully that will help.”

Sanders said Patterson is similar to Port Allen in that they have a big guard who runs their offense.

“As he goes, so goes the team,” Sanders said. “He was also the quarterback of their football team so he knows how to lead.”

The winner of tonight’s game advances to Saturday’s state championship game against either top seeded Plaquemine or defending champion Richwood.