Vikings take on in-league opponents

by Jefferson Freeman

Orcas High School senior

In the last week, the Orcas Vikings basketball team started their campaign against in-league opponents.

The Vikings were 1-1 after the opening weekend, leading off the second week with the La Conner Braves. The Braves came out with an energy the Vikings couldn’t match. It was only 14-10 after the first quarter, but by half-time the lead had become 9. Things got worse as the game went on as the Braves extended their lead in the fourth quarter. The final score was 65-44. Joe Stephens led the Vikings with 12 points as three players followed in second with 9.

After the disappointing defeat, the Vikings looked to turn it around as they set sail for Friday Harbor. The Wolverines, on the other hand, were rolling into this game after a big win over Bush Academy. In the first quarter, both teams looked how you’d think: the Vikings coming off a tough loss came out slow while the Wolverines got out to a lead. Orcas would keep it close though, holding it to 11-10 after a quarter.

In the second quarter, the Vikings started to heat up. Sam Sutton had one of his best offensive quarters of the season with eight points, and Joe Stephens began his hot hand that would last all night. A huge momentum shift had the Vikings in control with the score at 36-30. The Wolverines refused to let the game slip away and clawed back little by little, cutting the lead to three points for the final quarter. Stephens knocked down a three early in the quarter but the Wolverines went on a run and took back the lead. Sutton would answer with a tre-ball to give Orcas a 56-54 lead. With the game tied at 58, Stephens hit a three that would end up being the winner and giving the Vikings a huge lead. With time winding down, Orcas hit enough free throws, and the Wolverines missed enough shots, that the game would end 63-60 for the Vikings. Stephens was the go-to guy that night. His seven-made threes got him to a team-leading 28 points, close to a Viking record.

After the rivalry win, the Vikings were back at home, this time against the Sound Christian Lions. The Lions were returning all the key pieces plus more new contributors to a team that had been in last season’s state tournament. It was a brutal first quarter for the Vikings, as Sound Christian went up 24-10. From that point on it would be all catchup as the Vikings did a much better job in slowing one of the top offenses in the state. While the final score was 74-52, the Vikings flashed the capability to hang with a top team.

There will be two home games this week for the Vikings with the Darrington Loggers in town on Tuesday and a Friday night clash with the defending league champions Mount Vernon Christian.