Thanks for a great season

Published 3:33 am Saturday, March 8, 2003

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Assistant Sports Editor
Don't ever count out the Vikings.
That's what I took away from the Eastern Regional Class 1-A semifinal contest between Plymouth and Wallace-Rose Hill on Wednesday at Minges Coliseum.
I was sorry to see the Vikings and their sensational season come to a close, but what a way to go out. They went down fighting, scrapping and clawing until the final horn.
Moments into the fourth quarter, the Vikings found themselves down 20 points to the Bulldogs. Most any other team in the state -- heck, the country, would have packed it in and wanted to crawl home.
Not the Vikings.
Led by the incredibly talented Damien Linson, and one of the purest scorers I've ever seen in Brandon Carter, the Vikings fought all the way back until they were within a single point. I saw the Plymouth players smiling and high-fiving one another. I also saw the Wallace-Rose Hill players start to panic a bit, and they even jawed at one another on more than one occasion.
That's what the Vikings can do to you. They play relentless. They play fearless. They play with all their heart from the tip until the final buzzer sounds.
If only Plymouth would have had maybe a minute or two more, who knows what could have happened?
What impressed me just as much as the comeback was the spirit of the Plymouth fans. Even when their team was down by 20, the fans never, ever gave up. With each turnover, with each point, the Viking fans were on their feet. It was like a giant family rooting for one another, and it was a beautiful thing to watch.
Chris Cherry has done some amazing things with his basketball program in a short amount of time. He deserves high praise for what his teams have accomplished the past two seasons -- a 50-6 record and two trips to the regional tournament, including a trip to the state championship game last year.
He's going to miss some great players off this year's team. Anthony White was a deadly sharpshooter from the outside, and was an outstanding defensive player. Travis Fuller was just a brute. He did all the little things that made his team go. An opposing coach told me that he thought Travis was the glue that held his team together.
I can't say enough good things about Damien. What a competitor he is every time he steps onto the football field or onto a basketball court. He plays with all his heart and he plays with class.
What's even more enjoyable than watching Damien play is getting the chance to talk with him before and after games. He never accepts credit for the amazing games he's had, but is quick to acknowledge his coach, teammates, fans and family for making him the person he is today.
Thank you, Plymouth, for another magical season.
I also need to congratulate Ginger Jefferson and the job she's done with the Southside basketball team. In just a couple years, Southside is already one of the better teams in the east.
She only loses one player off this year's team, but what a player she was for the Seahawks. Sharkeysha Midgette averaged a double-double for the Seahawks and was always counted on for big things in big games.
Sharkeysha is easily the hardest working player I've come across.
The team will rebound without her, as they did without Marquida Coward this season. With players like Diamond Campbell, who is so fun to watch, Chantal Staton, Shareika Ruffin and Kieran Windley, Southside will be a team to be reckoned with next season.
My hat goes off to the entire Southside athletic's program. The school should feel great with all its success in such a short amount of time. Coach DeWayne Kellum obviously did an outstanding with his football program, leading the Seahawks to the state championship game.
With solid track and cross country teams to boot, Southside has quickly put itself on the athletic map.
So many great memories from last season, and so many more to come this season.