by Marty Zier
The Lady Vikings lost their first league game at home 35-43 against the La Conner Braves on Dec. 12.
Facing a typically strong league opponent, the Vikings kept the Braves in check going into half, 17-14. La Conner had a strong third quarter, stretching their lead to as much as 13 points but Orcas narrowed the lead during the fourth quarter and kept the game tight until the final buzzer. Although a loss, coach Gregg Sasan had a positive big picture perspective of the game.
“The girls played a good game. They played really well,” he said. “It was just our second game so we had difficulty getting into a shooting rhythm but the defense did a great job. We out-rebounded them and had fewer turnovers, 23 versus 17, which was very good. We only lost by eight to La Conner, so that was good for our first league game.”
The Vikings played the Concrete Lions later in the week and came away with a 53-23 win.
Orcas dominated the game from tip off, controlling both sides of the court the entire game. After halftime up 28-3, the starters were retired for the remainder of the game, giving the second string two quarters of valuable early season experience. Sasan was not surprised with his team’s performance.
“I knew their program was down this year because they graduated a lot of seniors last year, so this was a chance for the bench to play a lot,” he said. “The starters didn’t like sitting on the bench too much but they understood the need for the other girls to get experience. The younger players did really well, and that’s how we practice. Every player has to be ready to come in and play their position. Our scoring was Katy Minnis with 18, Flora Lister 10, Birdie Greening 8, Arla Sutton 6, Jessie Nichols 5 and Joanne Mietzner, Brittney Kern, Journey Howden and Joie Zier all with 2 each.
The Vikings enter the week (1-1) and face Mt. Vernon Christian and Auburn Adventist.
The boys’ team started their league play taking out the La Conner Braves for a win in the Orcas gymnasium, 47-40, on Dec. 12.
Coach Corey Wiscomb saw an important team characteristic in the first game.
“Two words immediately come to mind when I think about the win: senior leadership,” he said. “Our leading scorer, Vanya Bullock, was out with an unfortunate ankle injury. I was so proud of the maturity and composure that the seniors exuded in rising to the slightly disadvantaged situation. Yusuf Duni was a force on defense and scored 10 hard-earned points in the paint. Hayden Simpson had 9 points and played everything from point guard to post. He’s one of the more versatile players I’ve ever coached. Kellen Maier came off the bench for a solid 10 points and some big plays defensively. Garrett Ballanger was key and bodied up big time on defense for us against their large post. Freshmen Tomas Holmes was a great surprise. He played a fantastic game in his first varsity start, scoring 11 points. Other scorers were Ciaran O’Neill 2 and Max Clark-Mattila 5, who also played well.”
A battered up Viking team barely slipped past the Concrete Lions for a 45-43 win on Dec. 15.
Coach Wiscomb knew he had a challenge going into the game.
“We knew starters Vanya Bullock was still out and Hayden Simpson was playing injured, and if that weren’t enough, the night before in practice senior forward Yusuf Duni sustained a strain and was questionable,” he said. “We gritted that one out to get the win, but it wasn’t pretty. I’m proud of our defense. We have a goal to hold teams under 40 points, and our guys are doing that. Once again freshman Tomas Holmes rose to the occasion, hitting 5 three-point baskets during the game and leading the Vikings in scoring. I told Tomas, who was goofing around in practice before the game, ‘I know this isn’t exactly fair, but you’re starting on varsity now so you don’t have the luxury of acting like a freshman. I’m asking you to play like a senior.’ And to his credit, the kid did just that. He was clutch for us. Scoring wrap up for Orcas: Holmes 15; Simpson 13; Duni 5; Maier 4; Clark-Matilla 4; Ballanger 2; O’Neill 2.
The (2-0) Vikings head to Mount Vernon Christian and Auburn Adventist this week.