Sophomore Vital, Indians charge past Saints

By By Rhett Manuel / American Press

LAKE CHARLES — Washington-Marion sophomore Mark Vital may not be the entire steak, but he surely brings the sizzle.

Vital’s breakaway dunks and game-high 20 points highlighted a 74-48 Charging Indian victory over St. Louis in the Monday finale

of the Whitney Bank St. Louis Catholic Classic.

Vital, Tavares Berard and Dionte Dixon all scored in double digits for the Charging Indians. They spearheaded a W-M attack

that asserted itself from opening tip to final buzzer.

Berard and Dixon proved that Vital is far from Washington-Marion’s only weapon.

“We know (Vital) is not the whole show,” W-M head coach Albert Hartwell said. “We know we have a good team. We knew that from last year, because all those kids were young (Dixon) is a senior and has been with me for four years.

“Those kids can play. We know that. But (Vital) is the big picture. Everybody surrounding him just gets better.”

The contest was decided after Washington-Marion blasted out of the gates to a 20-8 lead.

But Vital was just getting started. Each of his four dunks offered something different, including a windmill slam in the second

quarter.

Add to that his ability to change shots — he had several blocks over the course of the game — Vital proved to be a game-changing

force for the Charging Indians.

St. Louis struggled to get going offensively until the fourth quarter when they outscored the Charging Indians 18-12.

Kelvin Henry and Christian Fontenot

scored in double-digits for the Saints, leading their team with 13 and

10 points respectively.

Despite the easy victory, Hartwell saw some room for improvement for his team in the young season.

“We played pretty good,” he said. “We didn’t play the best we could. We did some good things and some bad. We didn’t stay

aggressive, and we have to because that’s how we play.

“We got the lead and got a little lackadaisical in the second half. We’ve got to try to get it better.”

Washington-Marion will play Beaumont Kelly today at 7 p.m. in the semifinals.