Richwood last team in way of Vidalia’s title

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Vidalia Vikings have just one more hurdle to clear before they can celebrate their second ever boys basketball state championship and first since 1979. But it is quite a big hurdle.

The second seeded Vikings take on No. 4 seed Richwood in the Class 3A State Championship game at 6:45 p.m. today in the Cajundome in Lafayette, La.

Vidalia coach Robert Sanders said Richwood will be the toughest team the Vikings have faced this season.

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“They definitely are the biggest team we’ve played,” Sanders said. “They’ve got a shooting guard (Marceis Davis) who likes to shoot from anywhere. They also have to inside players who are big and will present a lot of problems”

Richwood is a great defensive team, and Sanders hopes the game doesn’t turn into a low-scoring defensive struggle.

Quartrell Thomas led Vidalia with 22 points and Gary Stewart had 16 in the Vikings’ semifinal win over Patterson, but Sanders said other players must step up in the final in order to come out victorious.

“(Richwood) is probably going to match up with Quartrell and Gary,” Sanders said. “Hopefully Torrey (Dixon) and Rolandin (Webster) will step up and Jacob (McGraw) as well.”

Another thing Vidalia must do well is rebound. That was the only drawback to their semifinal win. The Vikings were outrebounded by 15 in their 11-point victory. However, Sanders knows that can’t happen again if they want to bring home the championship trophy.

“We have to block out better,” he said. “We’ve worked on that in practice and adjusted some things.”

While Sanders might have to worry about Vidalia’s rebounding disadvantage, one thing he won’t have to worry about is his team being too uptight.

“They are still loose like they have been the entire playoffs,” Sanders said. “They get serious when they want to get serious.”

Sanders, in his 18th season as Vidalia’s coach, is coaching in his first state championship game, but stopped short of calling this his greatest team.

“That’s hard to say,” Sanders said. “I’ve had quite a few great teams. But for one reason or another, we’ve never made it this far.”