Vidalia’s tough road leads to title game

It would be hard to argue that Vidalia hasn’t earned the right to be one of the final two teams playing in GHSA Class AA.

The Indians haven’t benefited from an easy playoff draw. If they win today, the top-ranked Indians will have beaten the only other teams to be ranked No. 1 this season to go along with a semifinal win over Greater Atlanta Christian, which was one of the hottest teams in the state.

“We haven’t had it easy, that’s for sure,” senior Shekinah Henry said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, and we’ve had to play against some of the best teams in the state.”

Vidalia (31-0) will attempt to win its first girls basketball state championship at 3 p.m. today when it plays defending champion Buford. The Lady Wolves were ranked No. 1 for much of the season before they suffered two losses to GAC. Northeast was the only other school ranked No. 1 this season, and Vidalia beat the Raiderettes in the second round.

“Vidalia is a very good team, and they deserve to be playing (today),” GAC head coach Cal Boyd said. “They played extremely well against us.”

The Indians trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half and 15 points in the third quarter in Thursday’s 75-68 win over GAC.

Vidalia used two significant scoring runs in the second half to cut into the Lady Spartans’ sizable lead and eventually to take over the lead and win the game.

Buford didn’t struggle much in its semifinal victory over Laney.

The Lady Wolves beat Vidalia’s region foe Laney 62-49 prior to the Indians’ semifinal game. Buford (28-4) led by more than 20 at one point, but Laney’s shooting kept it in the game.

Vidalia beat Laney both times it played it this season. The Indians won the first matchup by seven points in overtime. They won the second time by 16 points in the region championship game.

The other common opponent between the teams was GAC. Buford won the first matchup by seven points but lost by four points in overtime in the second regular-season game. GAC beat Buford by five points in the region championship game.

“I think we’ll be playing a team a lot like Greater Atlanta Christian when we play Buford,” Vidalia head coach Chunk Reid said. “It will be a tough test.”