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|Vikings advance to finals|
Vidalia High showed it can play some defense, as well.
After scoring 102, 90 and 98 points in its first three playoff games, the Vikings managed only 62 against Abbeville Tuesday night at the Cajundome in Lafayette, but held the Wildcats to 48 in a 14-point win to reach the Class 3A state championship game.
"I was expecting a more high-scoring game, but we adapted," said Vidalia coach Robert Sanders. "I think we wore them down in the second half. But we missed too many free throws in the first half."
Vidalia faces Carroll Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Lafayette for the state title.
Carroll, which lost to Edna Karr in the Class 4A first round last year, defeated Richwood 70-63 Tuesday night for its third win in three meetings with the Rams this season.
"Down the stretch we were able to make some baskets and get some fast breaks," said Carroll second-year coach Jesse Burnette.
Burnette said he was impressed with Vidalia when he watched them last year.
"They are a great basketball team, really awesome," he said. "I knew from watching them last year what they can do and what type of team they have. They are going to be a tough foe to beat."
Burnette said poise will play a key to Friday's game.
"We're going to play the type of up-tempo game we like to play, and if we have to make adjustments as we go along, we will, whether that is after the first quarter or at halftime," Burnette said. "We made an adjustment with four minutes to go in the game against Richwood last night."
Richwood defeated Vidalia for the Class 3A state championship last year.
It will be the first time since beating Bunkie, 55-47, in the 2002 state finals that Carroll has reached the finals of Class 3A basketball.
The game can be heard on 107.1 The River.
No Abbeville High boys basketball team had ever made it to the semi-finals before Tuesday. Abbeville lost to Salmen in the Class 4A second round last year.
"I think it made a difference that we were there last year and this was their first time," Sanders said. "They played in the Cajundome earlier this season in a tournament, but it wasn't the same type of crowd or pressure. Our guys showed a lot of poise in the game."
Vidalia held Abbeville, the No. 5 seed, to just 32.8 percent shooting from the field.
Abbeville did not make any of its 11 attempts from 3-point land and made just 10 of 27 tries at the-free throw line for 37 percent.
Vidalia struggled early, shooting just 44 percent from the field, 23.1 from 3-point land and 60 percent at the line.
The contest was tied at 14-14 at the end of the first period and both teams scored 12 points in the second quarter.
It began midway through the third period when Abbeville 6-foot-7 forward Kellon Lee was whistled for his fourth foul. The score was tied at 32-all.
By the time Lee returned, Vidalia was leading 50-40 with 6:52 remaining in the game.
Foul trouble and a subpar shooting night forced Lee to settle for nine points and 11 rebounds. DaJuan Smith was the only other double-digit scorer for Abbeville with 10 points.
The Vikings started off the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run and were off to the races from there. Two steals by Eric Bell keyed Vidalia's early fourth quarter run.
"When we hung in there and were tied with them at the half, I figured we'd get it together in the second half," said Abbeville head coach Berwick Hamilton. "We just couldn't get it going. They shot the ball much better in the second half. The kids had a great season. It was a disappointing loss, but we had a great season and we lost to a great team."
Dixon led Vidalia with 26 points, while Stewart added 14.
"Torrey and Gary played the whole game, but they didn't seem too tired afterwards," Sanders said. "Gary got hit in the jaw, but he's OK and will be ready to go Friday. Ouan Riley (seven points) came off the bench and gave us some valuable minutes."
The last Abbeville team to reach the quarterfinals was 47 years ago.
The year was 1963 and the head coach was Tommy Broussard. The 1962-63 squad was made up of four seniors - including the Abbeville Meridional's Athlete of the Century. The seniors were Johnny Duhon, Bobby Duhon (voted Parish's best-ever athlete), Jimmy Moss, and Ned Bond.
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