Vidalia gets top seed in Class 3A tourney

Published 12:24 am Tuesday, February 23, 2010

VIDALIA — If the Vidalia Vikings can finish the LHSAA Class 3A playoffs the way they start them, there will be quite the party in Vidalia in a couple of weeks.

That’s because the Vikings are the No. 1 seed in the tournament, which begins Friday.

Vidalia will host No. 32 seed George Washington Carver in the first round at 7 p.m.

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The Vikings made the state finals last year as a No. 2 seed, but this year their better strength of schedule propelled them to the top spot.

“We were No. 1 all last year and when the final standings came out, we dropped to No. 2,” Vidalia coach Robert Sanders said. “This year we’ve been No. 1 in the power rankings for the last half of district play.”

But being the top seed doesn’t give Vidalia all the advantages. In fact, it might be a disadvantage down the road.

“It puts a bulls-eye on our backs, makes us a target for everyone,” Sanders said. “We’ve got to go out and play hard every game. We can’t take any breaks.”

While Vidalia is a No. 1 seed, due to a quirk in the rankings, they are actually playing the team whose power ranking was No. 30 in the regular season instead of 32.

John McDonough High School and W.L Cohen High School were actually outside the top 32 in the power ratings, but made the tournament because they finished runner-up in their districts.

Carver was ranked 30th in power ratings, but because they didn’t play 20 games, they dropped two spots to No. 32 and W.L. Cohen and John McDonough slid in front of them.

“So actually the No. 2 and No. 3 teams have an easier first game than we do,” Sanders said. “But if we survive that first game, the rest of the tournament will be like it should be.”

But Sanders might have a little more to worry about than the Vikings’ first-round opponent. He might have to worry about his team’s mindset going into the playoffs.

“This is a hard group to read,” Sanders said. “They’re not acting like they are as hungry to get the state title as they were last year. They have me kind of worried. But we’ll find out on Friday if they’re ready or not.”