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Story Archives: Parish teams are long shots
|Parish teams are long shots|
What a difference a year makes.
Or make that a Gary Stewart, Torrey Dixon and Quartrell Thomas.
That trio played a big part in Vidalia High's boys making two straight trips to the Top 28 Tournament in Lafayette the past two years, including winning the Class 3A state championship last season.
Stewart is now getting valuable minutes as a freshman at Northwestern State, while Dixon is one of the top scorers for Baton Rouge Community College.
A third trip to Lafayette is probably asking too much, although D.J. Polk and A.J. Bell provide the Vikings with as good an inside game as most 3A teams in the state.
Polk and Bell were both overshadowed by the last two Class 3A Players of the Year (Stewart in 2009 and Dixon last year). But both played key roles in Vidalia's run to the Big Dance.
The Vikings should still win district this season, although the road will be a lot tougher.
While the Vikings suit up 12 seniors, only two (Polk and Bell) have really been "through the wars."
Terrence Thompson, Jamon Duson and Brandon Bauchman will be counted on to step up in district at the guard positions.
The Vikings were rated No. 1 in the power ratings most of last year and that helped ensure the home court throughout the playoffs.
Vidalia is currently ranked No. 36 in the power ratings, but should climb into the 20s during district.
Getting past the second round of the playoffs will be a challenge. Polk and Bell will have to lead the way and get some valuable help from Viking guards.
If Vidalia does not make it back to the Top 28, it will be the first time in four years that a Concordia Parish boys team will not be playing in the tournament.
Ferriday's boys made it to the final three years ago, falling to St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Trojan boys have struggled the past two seasons and are currently No. 54 in the Class 2A power ratings.
The Trojans have shown signs of being a team to be reckoned with in District 2-2A, but have not been consistent enough.
The play of Ted'Rai Gullage and Markell Bell outside and Charles Chandler inside will be a key to the Trojans' run.
Ferriday's Lady Trojans have been to the playoffs regularly during Lisa Abron's 15 years as head coach of the Lady Trojans.
Led by standout guard Chanta Poole, a two-time Parish Player of the Year, the Lady Trojans should be making another return after winning district last year.
The Lady Trojans went 19-9 last season, falling to No. 5 John Curtis in the second round of the playoffs.
Ferriday is currently rated No. 28 in the Class 2A power ratings.
Winning district again would be the Lady Trojans among the top 15.
Like the boys team, the girls have been up and down. But when the girls are on, they can play with any 2A team in the state.
Seniors T'Keyah Fletcher and Keatrice Brown give stability to the Lady Trojans, while freshman guard Sha'Keria Kelly will be the latest Lady Trojan to turn heads during the next three years.
Vidalia High's girls are ranked No. 60 out of 62, but this Lady Viking team has been one of the most competitive of the past four or five.
Vidalia had a good chance to beat Bunkie in its district opener, but came up just short.
The Lady Vikings will continue to improve and if they can gain some confidence, could play a key spoiler role down the road.
Monterey's boys and girls teams have been the most impressive before Christmas
Monterey's girls are rated No. 10 in Class B, while the boys are rated No. 12.
The tough part, is they play in the same district with Rapides, which has owned that district the past several years.
Getting at least a split against Rapides, while taking care of business against other district games would be huge for both teams.
The Wolves and Lady Wolves showed during the past three months that they can play with any Class B in the state on most nights.
This year's Monterey squads have both been playing consistently well, which hasn't always been the case the past few years.
Josh Chapman is a force inside for the Monterey boys, while Rachel Pecanty, Ellen Bairnsfather and Kristen and Kendall Lipsey have shown great leadership for the Lady Wolves.
Monterey boys and girls teams are both capable of making it to the Big Dance for the first time in several years. Taking care of their home court and pulling over a couple of upsets on the road will be the key.
It's been a long while since the Monterey gym has hosted both a boys and girls playoff game in the same year.
That just may happen this year.
Unlike the past three years, no one is expecting a team from Concordia Parish to get an invitation to the Big Dance this season.
I believe some surprises are in store by the time February and March roll around. Don't count parish teams out yet.
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