St. Aloysius set to play in uncharted waters

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 18, 2003

[2/18/03]Vicksburg coach Dellie Robinson has been here before several times.

Warren Central’s Preston Wilson is used to being here, albeit not with a Class 5A school.

St. Al’s Paul Hayden, though, is making his first trip.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

All three will lead their respective schools into the state satellite games, a mere two wins from reaching the Mississippi Coliseum.

“All the people from West Lincoln thought they were playing MSD,” said Hayden, in his fourth year with the Flashes. St. Al beat the Mississippi School for the Deaf in the opening round of the Division 7-1A playoffs before losing to top-seeded West Lincoln on Friday night.

“We are definitely the underdog and there is no pressure on us. If we play hard and do the best we can, we have an opportunity to win.”

Hayden and the Flashes (11-14) will tangle with Division 7-1A champion McAdams (22-7) with a trip to the South State tournament on the line.

“They are a very athletic and high-scoring team,” Hayden said. “They like to get the score in the 70s and 80s. Our plan is to slow it down a little bit and we can’t turn the ball over.”

McAdams, located between Durant and Kosciusko on Mississippi 12, beat Benoit-Brooks for their division championship.

The Flashes have not advanced in the playoffs in 33 years, when the playoff system was different from the current one, and Hayden said the atmosphere and excitement level should be wild.

“It’s a new experience for all of us,” Hayden said. “We’re going up there as the underdog and we have nothing to lose.”

Warren Central coach Preston Wilson is used to playing in the state tournament, it’s just his players aren’t.

Wilson, as coach at Brookhaven, routinely advanced to the Coliseum and he i

“Hopefully we’ll have a good experience,” Wilson said. “Hopefully we can stay close enough in the fourth quarter and sneak out of their with a victory. It’s a new thing for them.”

The Vikings (17-11) haven’t advanced to the state satellite game since 1994, but what may prove to be a taller order is Starkville (24-2) standout Travis Outlaw. The 6-foot, 9-inch superstar is a Mississippi State signee.

“He is a tremendous athlete,” Wilson said. “He’s one of those you can’t spend a lot of time concentrating on trying to stop. He’s going to get his share. We have to hope to stop some of the other guys.”

With a win, the Vikings will play either Murrah or Horn Lake in the North State tournament.

At Vicksburg High, the Division 4-5A champion Gators (25-7) will host defensive-minded Columbus tonight at 7 p.m.

The Gators beat Warren Central by 20 points in the division championship on Friday against Natchez.

Vicksburg went to Columbus three seasons ago and lost.