The Sitka Wolves prowled into Petersburg last weekend to challenge the Vikings boys basketball team.
Sitka left with a handful of wins but the story is more interesting than the scores show.
The Vikings have struggled this season with starting ballgames well, but Friday’s varsity game showed improvement in that respect.
Vikings Head Coach Rick Brock described the first quarter as passionate and competitive with a momentum that carried into the next quarter, until halfway through the second quarter when the Vikings started fouling.
Sitka would make their free throws, the Vikings would miss, then foul.
“We got into a bad rhythm, and that’s where they stretched their lead,” said Brock.
“Sitka is very explosive on the offensive end. They score quickly and in bunches,” said Brock. “At the end of the game they were able to take their lead and stretch it way out.”
The final score was 74-46.
Tristan Welton was Friday’s top scorer for the Vikings with 14 points. Taylor Pullar brought in 12, Dan Loucks added 8, and Hugh Fleming scored 6.
“On Saturday we had to regroup,” said Brock.
The Vikings started the game even more aggressively than the night before and had a 21-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Coach Brock described it as, “Really one of the best quarters we’ve had all year against a very, very good team.”
That momentum carried into the second quarter. Sitka made a buzzer beater at halftime to take a one point lead 29-28.
In the third the Viking defense went a little flat and the Wolves stretched their lead out by a few possessions, but the Vikings stayed competitive.
“In the last three minutes of the fourth quarter they just blitzed us, ending the game 73-48,” said Brock. “I feel the game was much closer than the score suggests. We were within striking distance all the way until the last few minutes of the game.”
“People are saying they are the team to beat in the conference, and for us, especially in Saturday’s game, to stay competitive for most of the game… You’ve gotta be happy about the progress we’ve made,” said Brock.
The Vikings have improved the way they start their games, but they’re still not shooting as well as they could.
“Hopefully that’ll be the next progression that we go through. Offensively we will continue to get better at working together and knocking down the shots that are available,” said Brock.
Petersburg’s JV games against Sitka followed a similar pattern, harder fought games than the final scores suggest.
Friday was a Wolves win, 58-33 with Kayin McCay leading Petersburg scoring with 12.
Saturday another Sitka JV win, 65-48, Colby Bell leading the Vikes with 12.
In Saturday’s game the Vikings were ahead most of the ball game until partway through the fourth when the Wolves went on a huge end of game run.
“It was very competitive, a good bounce back from Friday’s game,” said Brock.