by Marty Zier
The Viking men’s basketball team (2-0 league, 4-1 overall) soundly beat La Conner 65-40 on Dec. 21, ending the Braves’ 10+ year dominance as the “perennial league powerhouse” according to head coach Corey Wiscomb. This win boosted Orcas into a two-way tie for first in league with Friday Harbor.
“Traditions can be powerful things,” said Wiscomb. “Some are good, some we strive to change. Breaking that trend takes great strength. La Conner scares teams into thinking they had won before they even show up. Teams become afraid to play against them. Our work was to break that trend mentally and physically.”
Wiscomb said the first quarter did not look promising for the Vikings with an ill-timed slow start on the court. Despite sputtering on offense, the Viking defense was on the mark holding the Braves to six first quarter points, giving the Orcas offense time to find their rhythm.
“Hayden Simpson broke the lid off the rim early in the second quarter with a long three-ball,” said Wiscomb. “The Vikings finished the half leading 20-16. The scoring barrage continued into the second half while Orcas sustained a high defensive intensity. Yusuf Duni had four points and stepped in off the bench and had several huge rebounds at key times to give Orcas nice momentum swings. Scoring was spread out across the entire team, but in the fourth quarter Vanya Bullock simply exploded and lit the scoreboard up at will as he found ‘the zone.’ Bullock hit 5 three-pointers in the fourth quarter alone to help his team run away with the win.”
Bullock finished with 25 points. Miles Harlow had 10 points and over 10 rebounds, Cyrus Amour dropped in 10, Jordan Randolph 8, Brother Murphy and Hayden Simpson each had 3 and Grayson White 2.
“It was a huge win for us in solidifying the connection between all our hard work and the goals we have set,” said Wiscomb. “Defense carried us in this game and set us apart. We are not there yet, but this game was an absolute stepping stone that showed us we are moving strongly in the right direction. Step by step we are taking hold of the dream.”
Orcas plays 1A Coupeville at home Dec. 30 in a non-league game at 3 p.m.
The Lady Vikings lost 57-32 to the La Conner Braves. The Vikings played well and initially kept the game close, ending the first half down 22-20. But the Braves’ offense chipped away at the Vikings, increasing their lead to eight after the third quarter. Orcas only managed 12 second half points, not enough to keep pace with the undefeated Braves. Orcas is now 1-1 in league and 4-1 overall.
The ladies travel to Clallam Bay on Dec. 28 and then play Coupeville at home on Dec. 30 at 1:30 p.m.
On Jan. 3, both teams play Friday Harbor in an away game. The boys play at 3:45 p.m. and the girls play at 5:15. Washington State Ferries will make a special stop at Orcas to drop off walk on passengers only for the return boat.