Vikings’ basketball is back

by Jefferson Freeman

Orcas High School student

Vikings basketball returned to action last weekend with the girls’ team taking on Bush and Overlake while the boys played one game against Overlake.

On Friday, Dec. 3, Orcas High School saw fans back in the stands for a basketball game for the first time since 2019. The Lady Vikings took on the Bush Blazers at home to open their season. A very young Vikings team showed flashes of potential in a tough battle against a 1A Bush team but eventually fell short by the score of 38-48.

Saturday, Dec. 4 saw both teams playing against the Overlake Owls. The girls played first and battled against another 1A squad but in the end, they didn’t quite have enough and would lose 47-60. After that, the boys took the floor for the first time since the end of the 2020 season. After graduating three seniors and losing one player to injury it would be a test of how well this group had gelled in a short time. Overlake is a good team and provided some issues for the Vikings who started slowly before picking it up offensively in the fourth quarter. The final score would end up being 57-73 in favor of Overlake. Both teams played well but not well enough to get the win. The Vikings will visit Mount Vernon Christain on Tuesday for their first league test of the season.

After Saturday’s game, I got a chance to talk to Head Coach Ed Lago about his thoughts and feelings moving into the year. He had a lot of optimism for the 2021/22 team especially after seeing them play together for the first time. Of course, as it was their first time playing together it was also the first time playing in front of fans in a long time for all the players on the court.

Coach Lago said he was pleasantly surprised with how well this team came together for their first game. When asked to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the team he had some great answers that truly encapsulated this squad. He identified one weakness which was the lack of game time together but commented that after watching Saturday he felt that was less a concern than before. He also said the team showcased their strengths despite the result on the scoreboard: good minutes from the bench, coachability from all the players, high effort for all four quarters and tenacious defense.

He then talked about some goals for the season. Making the playoffs was the main focus, and hopefully, once they get there to make some noise and win some games. Of course, winning the league is always a goal and we will see how this team fairs. Lago gave his team high praise, saying that it was a fun group to coach and he is excited for the future. He closed by giving a comparison to the 2017 team, which has become the gold standard for Vikings basketball. We hope that comparison can hold true as we look towards the rest of the season.

I was also able to get some quick comments from the girls’ basketball Head Coach Gregg Sasan. He was happy with the energy this team had brought to the floor in tough back-to-back games. Similar to Coach Lago, he was very excited to finally see fans back in the stands after losing that to COVID-10. He stressed hard work and confidence for this young group if they were going to make some noise in the league this season.