Vidalia hungry to bring state title back from Lafayette

Published 12:36 am Tuesday, March 9, 2010

VIDALIA — If there is one word to describe what the Vidalia Vikings’ players are feeling as they get ready to take on Abbeville in the LHAAA Class 3A semifinals tonight, it is hunger.

After leaving the Cajundome in Lafayette, La., last season with an empty feeling in their stomachs following a 75-61 loss to Richwood in the state championship game, the Vikings are back to fill that emptiness with a championship trophy.

“We’re just hungry and motivated to get back there and complete what we couldn’t last year,” senior point guard Eric Bell said. “We want to bring that trophy home.”

A second consecutive trip to the Cajundome brings a new perspective from the team, and one that senior standout guard Torrey Dixon said makes a big difference.

“Last year we were just happy to be there,” Dixon said. “This year we’re definitely more hungry for (a state championship). We want it bad this year.”

In addition to Vidalia’s new attitude is another, even better reason the Vikings have a good chance to win a state title. They are a better team this year, with the emphasis on team.

While Dixon and Gary Stewart carried the team last year, this season more players have stepped up into their roles and improved the quality and depth of the team.

“Everybody is doing their part this year,” Stewart said. “It’s not just a few people scoring. Everybody is bringing something to the table.”

That has never been more true than in Vidalia’s three playoff games.

The Vikings have had at least four different players in double-figures in each game, and had five players in double-figures in Vidalia’s second round win over Bogalusa.

And while Dixon is the leading scorer, averaging almost 31 points per game in the playoffs, one of the biggest keys is the good play of junior D.J. Polk, who has given the Vikings an inside presence they lacked at times last year.

“D.J. has helped fill a void,” Dixon said. “We needed his big body down low to get rebounds and score inside. He has helped out a lot and made a big difference for us.”

And with an improved team and a burning hunger to win, anything less than a state championship would be a disappointment, Vikings senior guard Quartrell Thomas said.

“It would be a disappointment to the players, coaches and fans (not to win the championship),” Thomas said. “Those are the people who really want us to play hard and bring it home.”

“We want to do this for us and for our fans,” Stewart added. “We’ve got to get down there and win the title.”