By Portia White
Special to the Sounder
Viking basketball started the season off strong in their first week of play. With a shortened season, Orcas is working to get in as many games as possible. On May 15, the Vikings traveled to Concrete to compete in their first match since February of 2020. The girls played first, on the road and started off slow, but began to pick up speed by the end of the 1st quarter. Concrete brought their aggressive defense, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Vikings from taking the 61-28 victory.
Following the girls, the Viking boys basketball team stepped onto the court. Orcas didn’t hesitate to get on the board quickly, scoring 24 points in just the first quarter. The Vikings didn’t finish there. Orcas walked away with two wins on the day after the boys defeated the Concrete Lions 63-19.
The Vikings and the Friday Harbor Wolverines competed in a match unlike many have ever experienced. The players and coaches could feel the difference in the gym as spectators were not allowed. Even with the change in scenery, FH and Orcas came to compete in the first of two rivalry games of the season on May 17.
The girls were up first. Both teams were putting up a strong defense in the first half, keeping the score low. At the end of the first half, the Vikings were up just by six points. Junior Tayla Malo led Orcas with twelve points with sophomore Avery Solesbee right behind her with eleven. Orcas picked it up in the second half where they held the Wolverines to nine more points and scored twenty-one themselves, finishing the game 40-22, Orcas.
With the energy left on the court, the boys carried it over to their match-up against FH. Orcas held the lead most of the game, but the Wolverines weren’t going to give up without a fight, bringing the game to a tie at the end of the 4th quarter, 39-39, sending the game into overtime. The game went back and forth throughout overtime. With just over a minute left, senior August Groeninger scored a layup, bringing the Vikings to a 40-37 lead. Friday Harbor was able to score one more two-pointer but wasn’t enough to send them over, with a final score of 40-39, Viking victory.
Viking JV also competed on the 17, at home against the Wolverines. The girls gave it their all on the court and it showed in their 36-6 victory. Friday Harbor took to the board early in the boys’ JV game, but Orcas rallied back. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, as Orcas took the 32-42 loss.
On May 20, Orcas came out of Coupeville with a four-game clean sweep. The girls’ varsity started off the day for the Vikings. Coupeville set up a defense that Orcas was finding challenging getting around, but that didn’t deter them. With a very close match between the teams, it seemed as though it could be anyone’s game. That was until Betnay Carter made a jumper from the top of the key pulling Orcas ahead. Not long after, senior Izie Janecek was sent to the free-throw line where she made both free throws, meaning Coupeville would have to score a three to tie the game and send it to overtime. Orcas kept up their defense with a few seconds left to go in the game, ending in a 41-38 win for the Vikings.
Boys varsity followed. Senior Tomas Holmes led Orcas, scoring an impressive 37 points at Coupeville on May 20 with sophomore Diego Lago behind him with 20. The Vikings came ready to play in their third game of the week, finishing with a score of 70-51 in Orcas’ favor.
The JV Vikings also traveled to Coupeville and both teams came out on top. The girls finished with a score of 35-24 and the boys finished 46-42.
After Coupeville both the girls and boys varsity teams have a 3-0 record on the year and are looking forward to continuing to compete for the remainder of the short season, with just two weeks left.