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|Vikings lead All-Parish Boys Team|
Selecting one player from a team which accomplished what only one other Vidalia boys basketball team has ever done and what no other Vidalia sports team has done would be like deciding which part of an F-14 Tomcat aircraft. is the most important.
Seven members of the Vidalia team contibuted in a big way to the Vikings winning their first-ever 3A state championship in any sport and their second boys basketball title in school history.
That's why the top seven players from the 2009-10 Vidalia High basketball team are the 2010 Parish Players of the Year.
Seniors Gary Stewart, Torrey Dixon, Quan Riley, Eric Bell and Quartrell Thomas, juniors Alvin Bell and D.J. Polk are tops in the area, along with head coach Robert Sanders as Coach of the Year.
Also named to the team are sophomore Ted'Rai Gullage and Richard Jefferson of Ferriday, Monterey senior Ross Lipsey and junior Josh Chapman, Huntington seniors Kevin Brown and Jess Dossett
Gullage averaged 11 points a game, while Jefferson averaged 8.2 points a contest.
Chapman averaged 15 points and 8.0 rebounds a game.
Brown averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds a game.
Dossett averaged 10.3 points a game.
Lipsey averaged 7.5 points and had a team-high 79 assists and 66 steals.
After falling to Richwood in the state championship game last year, Vidalia knew it would be one of the favorites after returning most of its starters. The Vikings pounded Carroll 82-59 in the championship game.
And if the Vikings had come up at least one game short for the second straight year.
"The season would have been a failure," Dixon said. "It would have been very disappointing."
"We would have let our fans down and ourselves down," Stewart added.
But Sanders knows it wasn't as easy as the 32-4 record indicates.
"I think I would have been tarred and feathered if we would not have won," Sanders said. "But we lost three important players from last year and two teams (Carroll and Abbeville) dropped down from Class 4A who we knew would be a big challenge. And there were several other teams who were going to be better. It's never a given, you can ask the No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament."
The 6-foot-3 Dixon, the Class 3A MVP, averaged 26 points a game and also led the Vikings in rebounds (12.0) and blocks (4.8).
"I knew after last year we could win it this year," Dixon said. "We were more motivated
The 6-foot-4 Stewart, the Class 3A State Championship Game MVP, averaged 17 points, 10 assists and 7.7 rebounds a game.
"I think we got more production from the whole team," Stewart said. "Our defense really stepped up this year and we were stronger inside."
Stewart said he felt the team could win state after beating Lake Providence 104-55 in Lake Providence.
"I knew it was going to be a high-scoring year then," he said.
Thomas averaged 15 points a game and 4.1 rebounds.
"My main concentration was getting everybody in the game," Thomas said. "I think we had more chemistry this year.
Riley was the first player off the bench off the bench to provide a quick spark.
"I know they are looking for somebody to contribute when I come in so I just was always ready and patient," Riley said. "This team stayed together and stayed united."
Bell said he was more committed to contributing this season.
"I was just trying to create things for my teammates," he said.
At 5-foot-6, Bell knew he had to prove himself each night.
"I just tried to use my quickness and speed to my advantage," he said.
Polk was overshadowed by Stewart and Dixon, but may several key baskets underneath for the Vikings.
"It was just a matter of boxing out," Polk said. "The other team would be in a zone and I would just work my way around and wait for a pass from Gary or Torrey. And I got better having to work against Gary and Torrey in practice. I knew if I could go against them, I could go against anybody."
Bell was steady underneath the basket.
"I was kind of nervous about stepping in, but I was also excited about getting a chance to play a lot," he said. "But the guys really helped me out and told me don't worry about being nervous."
Sanders admitted he also worried about "senioritis."
"But they really played together, especially toward the end," Sanders said. "Their motto was to 'Keep their eyes on the prize.' I felt really confident after we beat Bogalusa because we were really coming together. We had a few glitches, but we were close to clicking on all cylinders."
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