The Viking boys ended their playoff season with a loss against the Crusaders from Tacoma Baptist in front of a packed Orcas crowd Wednesday night.
Although down 13-12 after the first quarter, Orcas played aggressive helped with rebounding by Daniel Briggs and tightrope passes to forward Jake Zier for 9 points in the quarter.
Opening the second quarter, the Vikings clicked with exceptional passing and defense that denied open shots, kept Crusaders out of balance and in foul trouble. With three minutes left in the quarter, Orcas tied the game 23-23 and advanced to 30-26 at the end of the quarter, spurred by two points from Briggs, six points from Gates and eight points from Zier.
Momentum after half continued for the Vikings as they stretched their lead to 38-28 with 5:34 left in the third quarter with balanced team scoring with two three pointers from Gates, one from forward Jack Russillo, two points from Briggs and four points from Zier. But the resilient Crusaders crept back ending the quarter only behind 48-45 as Viking shooting cooled and passes into the paint wained.
Disrupting the Viking's rhythm, Tacoma Baptist opened the fourth quarter with a full press and dialed in their outside shooting as Crusader guard Dayton Pascua nailed key three pointers for his team high 23 points. The Vikings failed to regroup and with five minutes left in the game, trailed 56-50. A strong nine point quarter by Gates helped only with four points from Zier was not enough as the game slipped to the Crusaders 66-59.
Orcas Coach Josh Mayson was disappointed in the loss but was pleased with the dramatic improvements the team made over the season and making it to the post season.
Orcas scoring was lead by Zier with 25 points, Gates 25, Russillo 5 and Briggs 4.