Vidalia faces Carroll in state championship

Published 12:19 am Friday, March 12, 2010

VIDALIA — Three decades is a long time to wait for a championship, and the Vidalia basketball team is one win away from ending that drought.

At 7:30 tonight, the Vikings (31-4) will square off against Carroll High School (25-10) in the LSHAA Class 3A state championship game.

“I don’t think the community will be satisfied unless we win,” Vidalia basketball coach Robert Sanders said. “Thirty-one years is not as bad as the Saints looking for a Super Bowl win, but it’s been a long time since we’ve won one as a basketball team.”

And given that Carroll has multiple wins against Richwood High School — Vidalia’s opponent in last year’s championship game — Sanders is not taking Carroll lightly.

“I expect it to be a hard-fought game,” he said. “We’re playing a team that has beaten the team that beat us in the finals last year three times.

“They play a lot of man defense, and are more perimeter-oriented than Abbeville was. They like to shoot 3-pointers more than posting up, so that’s going to leave our big men sort of on an island with their post guys. Hopefully, we’ll be able to keep them from hitting those shots.”

On offense, being multi-faceted will be key for the Vikings, and their big three will have to have a strong showing in order to come out on top, Sanders said.

“We have to be able to score both inside and outside. Torrey Dixon, Gary Stewart and Quartrell Thomas will have to step up and have big games.”

While Vidalia may have just been happy getting to the championship game last season, Sanders said his players, particularly his seniors, are ready to bring a first-place trophy home.

“They seem to be excited to have a chance to win this one, and they seem to know this is their last chance, so hopefully they’ll go out there and give us their best effort,” he said. “For a lot of (my seniors), it’s probably their last organized basketball game period.”

Fan support will also be key for Vidalia, and Sanders said he’s heard that people would be coming from across state lines to support the Vikings tonight.

“Their support is very important. It seems like we’ve picked up more fans as the postseason has gone along. We expect a bigger crowd than what we had Tuesday night.

“We have fans coming in as far away as Texas. I just hope we see the people who say they’re coming, and hopefully we can bring a championship back home.”

The game can be heard locally on 107.1 The River.