As WIAA Northwest 1A/2B Conference Champions, the Viking boys basketball team advanced in post-season play after beating their biggest rival, Friday Harbor, 54-47, in front of a heavily divided, rambunctious crowd at Orcas High School on Feb. 11.
With the Wolverines highly motivated to atone a 0-2 record against Orcas this year, the Vikings expected a very capable team to play their best game of the season. But the Vikings were better.
“We’ve been a good team for the last couple seasons, but the maturity of the players this year has taken us well above that,” said Coach Corey Wiscomb. “When things go our way, we get hyped; we love that energy from each other. And when things are working against us, as a team we keep a quiet fortitude while working extremely hard on the little things we can control to turn things back in our favor. Defensively we were one unit out there, holding Friday Harbor to less than 50 points. Within that, I think Jordan Randolph and Aidan Kruse were standout players in this meeting. Aidan played consistently all game long with defensive intimidation, blocked shots, rebounding and scoring throughout all four quarters. Randolph once again controlled game tempo alongside his defensive wizardry that earned him five steals in the game. And when our team needed surge after Friday Harbor started to rally in the second half, Jordan put in nine points.”
The game was low-scoring in the first half as both exceptional defenses kept either offense from running loose.
“We work to be relentless on making sure the ball goes through the hoop and Cyrus Amour had several amazingly athletic, high altitude put-backs shots off rebounds,” said Wiscomb. “That kind of effort wins games, hands down. Miles Harlow and Vanya Bullock each played a very balanced game between defense and scoring. Yusuf Duni is also continuing to be an emerging strength in our line-up. Of all the games I’ve seen at Orcas High School, that has to be my favorite one. So much on the line, and the guys played better than ever. They made us all proud – teammates, school, town, everyone.” The Viking boys will next play Seattle Lutheran on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. in the Sedro-Woolley High School. The game will be the district championship, and the winner advances to the state regional game for seeding into the state tournament at the Spokane Arena.
The Lady Vikings hit a bump in the first round of post-season play with wild buzzer loss against Auburn Adventist, 43-41, on Feb. 10. The Vikings had the lead 41-40 with six seconds remaining.
“We threw the ball away,” said Sasan. “Auburn got possession and kicked it out to a player who maybe had scored one basket the entire game. She really just tossed it up and it went in for a three-pointer at the buzzer. They won … we were pretty evenly matched but felt good going into the game after some good practices. We couldn’t really stop their main scorer who had 20 points. She was a very smart, physical player who could hit shots from all over the court. Auburn’s defense did a good job against us too. Maia Lewis-Shunk was our top scorer with 13 points but scoring from others was limited. Their coach called out their defense when Katy Minnis, our top scorer, got the ball. She was held to nine points along with Bethany Hansen, who usually one of our top scorers too.”
The Lady Vikings play Friday Harbor on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 4:15 p.m. at the Sedro-Woolley High School. The winner will advance to the next game in the playoffs.
Asked how he plans to beat the Wolverines, a team the Vikings has lost to both meetings this season, Sasan said, “We have to make more baskets. We have lost to Friday Harbor twice: the first game by seven points and the second by only four. So we can beat them, but we need to shoot the ball well to win.”
Photos by Colleen Smith Armstrong.