by Marty Zier
The Lady Vikings started last week winning 53-45 over the Darrington Loggers and then a tough last-second loss to the Friday Harbor Wolverines, 34-33. The Vikings repeated the same tendencies in both games: dominating the first three quarters and falling off the rails in the fourth.
The Loggers (0-3) arrived at the Orcas High School gym on Jan. 9 with an edge in their attitude and not playing like a winless team. Despite Darrington’s aggressive play, the Vikings controlled the game with shooting rhythm and dominating the boards, entering the fourth quarter up 40-34. But with 4:30 left in the game, the Loggers took advantage of sloppy Orcas passing and turnovers and tied the game at 43. Clutch-free throw shooting by Journey Howden and Jessie Nichols kept the Vikings on top as time ended.
“It was an ugly win,” said Coach Gregg Sasan. “We had quite a few breakdowns in our defense toward the end of the game and we allowed easy buckets. We need to tighten our defense. Our shooting was better, and we have been working on that a lot, but the win today was from our free throws. We work on the free throws every day and this win was a good example.”
Orcas scoring was Katy Minnis with 18, Maia Lewis-Shunk 15, Jessie Nichols 9, Journey Howden 6, Birdie Greening 4 and Lindsay Simpson 1.
The Vikings lost a game they dominated to the Wolverines in the Friday Harbor gym on Jan. 12. The contest was marred by a series of obviously erroneous calls against both teams by the referees, erupting the offended crowd in disbelief while the remainder of the spectators sheepishly accepted the gift. The Vikings put together three well-played quarters and maintained a solid lead over the Wolverines up 22-12 in the middle of the third quarter and stretching their lead to 28-16 going into the fourth. But the fourth quarter jinx hit the Vikings square as seemingly every aspect of their game dismantled into turnovers. Late in the fourth quarter, the focused Wolverines tracked down the sinking Vikings to take the lead 32-30. But after a key Viking free throw by Howden and a clutch basket by Greening, Orcas regained the lead 33-32 with five seconds left in regulation. Joyous in their last moment comeback, the Vikings failed to defend the rapid full court passes to a wide open Wolverine who scored the winning basket as time expired. The Friday Harbor crowd stormed the gym floor as the Wolverines celebrated their win.
Orcas finished the week midpack in the league at (2-3) behind Mt. Vernon Christian (5-0), La Conner (3-1), Friday Harbor (2-3) and ahead of win-less Darrington and Concrete.
The Lady Vikings play Concrete off-island and host two home games this week: Mt. Vernon Christian on Friday, Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. and the Lopez Lobos on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 4:30 p.m.
The boys’ basketball team beat the Darrington Loggers 73-54 on Jan. 9.
The Vikings controlled this game against the chippy Loggers up 10 points at the half and extending their lead as Vikings hit their stride and Darrington found themselves in foul trouble.
“Vanya Bullock and Hayden Simpson were quite dominant in scoring against Darrington, which is exactly what we discussed in the locker room prior to playing,” Coach Corey Wiscomb said. “While we like everyone scoring, we had a couple injuries and some sickness remaining, so I asked those two to step it up in scoring. Bullock scored 38, Simpson 17 … I would definitely say they did their jobs well. The scoring was rounded out by Tomas Holmes with 6, Garrett Ballanger 4, Michael Mullan 3, Ciaran O’Neill 2, Kellen Maier 2, and Max Clark-Mattila 1.”
The Vikings traveled to Friday Harbor on Jan. 12, losing 63-49 in a game they were overwhelmingly out-matched due to Yusuf Duni, the dominate Viking center, still out with an injury.
Despite facing an extreme height deficit to the Wolverines, Wiscomb had his Vikings leading early and within striking distance the entire game. Foul trouble late in the game kept Bullock on the bench forcing the Vikings to find a way to score other than Simpson’s consistent 3-pointers. But overall rebounding swayed the advantage as Friday Harbor controlled the boards and took multiple opportunities for fast break points off missed Vikings shots. Wiscomb certainly anticipates the next match with a healthy Orcas squad.
The Vikings end the week (3-2) down a game to Friday Harbor at (4-1) and ahead of La Conner (2-2), Concrete (2-3), Mt. Vernon Christian (2-3) and Darrington (1-3).
The boys play Concrete off-island and host two home games this week: Mt. Vernon Christian on Friday, Jan. 19 at 4:30 p.m. and the Lopez Lobos on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 3 p.m.