Seniors appreciated during Vikings last home game
Japanese exchange student Kazuhiro Aoki took the Vikings home court for the last time on Saturday night. He was the JV’s top scorer in their game against the Metlakatla Chiefs he also got some court time in Saturday night’s varsity game.
The Vikings played their final home series of the season against the Metlakatla Chiefs last weekend.
The Vikings pillaged the court during Friday night’s first quarter, outscoring the Chiefs 17-8.
In the second period the Metlakatala boys cranked up their defensive pressure, effectively stopping Viking scoring for a solid four minutes. The Chiefs knocked down two crucial threes right before the half withering the Viking lead to one point.
The two teams were evenly matched through the third quarter and went into the fourth with the Vikings down by a possession, 38-40.
It stayed a one or two possession game until the final moments when the Chiefs started pulling away and the Vikings had to foul to try and create an opportunity to get back in it. The final score was a 6-point Metlakatla win 55-49.
On Friday Taylor Pullar led the Vikings with 24 points and Colby Bell had a strong game, scoring 11.
Saturday’s game was preceded by a heart-warming ceremony of senior appreciation.
The first seniors honored were Seth Shay and Cody Seaman, the volunteers with the PHS TV production crew. Shay has worked for three years with TV production and volunteered over 100 hours, and Seaman in the last year has spend around 60 hours as a volunteer holding the camera to stream basketball games and other school events broadcast live on the PHS ustream.tv website.
A thank you was said to senior Joe Zarlengo who attends all the home games ceremoniously garbed in furs and horns to keep the fan spirit high.
The Vikings had only two seniors on the team this year, each of them having played all four years of basketball during their high school time in Petersburg, and each of them spending three of those years on varsity.
Head coach Rick Brock described the seniors, Hugh Fleming and Taylor Pullar as “great young men on and off the court, definitely quality representative of the school.”
Being the last home game and senior appreciation, the school spirit was extremely high on Saturday night.
The students of Stedman Elementary along with Viking parents and fans all dressed in white and formed a human tunnel for the Vikings to charge through at the beginning of the game.
“It was great. I was telling the guys after the game, what a fantastic atmosphere for their last home game. It shoes how much our community appreciates their effort on the court. It’s pretty special to be able to play in front of a crowd like that,” said Brock.
That fan-fueled frenzy powered the Vikings into an extraordinary first quarter.
The Vikings took a huge first quarter lead, scoring 25 points, in what coach Brock described as their best quarter of basketball all season.
“It was just a very good quarter all the way around. We did a nice job of containing their shooters and keeping them out of the key,” said Brock.
Going into the second quarter the Chiefs demonstrated some senior appreciation of their own. They are an experienced team with a lot of depth and with three talented seniors on their starting lineup. The Chiefs drew from that experience and completely changed the tone of the game in that second quarter.
They outplayed the Viking defense and took a one-point lead going into the half.
The Metlakatla momentum carried through the third quarter. Their offense was on fire.
“We couldn’t get a defensive stop. When we slacked off to help on a drive, they got an outside shot. When we crowded them on the perimeter, they put the ball on the floor and beat us to the basket,” said Brock.
The Chiefs grew their lead to 48-59 by the end of the third quarter.
The Vikings matched their intensity throughout the 4th quarter and by nailing a few threes and making some key plays were able to get back within a few possessions, but toward the end they started getting into foul trouble and the Chiefs were able to keep their lead for a very high scoring game final of 69-79 points.
“Even though we were playing well, the pace was more their style than ours. We got caught up in a fast-paced game and I don’t think that’s our best style,” said Brock.
Taylor Pullar, in his last-ever home game, scored a season high of 38 points.
“To score 38 points is one thing, but Taylor played well all-around, competed hard on the defensive end, rebounded well,” said Brock.
Michael Brock had a huge game too, scoring 14 points – one of his better games of the year.
“His outside shooting was important for us to loosen up their defense. You hope that every weekend someone steps up like that and builds their confidence,” said coach Brock.
The JV had big games over the weekend too. They lost a hard fought game on Friday, 47-55,
Taylor Pullar skies through and over Metlakatla defenders scoring two of his season high 38 points during Saturday’s game.
Jared Volk led scoring with 10, and Kavin McCay, Anthony Curtiss and Kaz Aoki all added 8.
Saturday the JV lost 44-56, this time Kaz Aoki was the top Viking scorer with 10. Kavin McCay had 8, while Connor Yeager, Billy Ware, and Anthony Curtiss all added 7.
“We had good offensive output in the game, but just gave up too many points, kinda like the varsity game,” said Brock.
The Vikings have this weekend off, then head down to Ketchikan to compete in the Region V Tournament.
Their first matchup will be Wednesday at 4:45 pm against an as-of-yet unknown opponent.
Looking forward to the tournament, Brock said, “We’ve definitely gotten better as the season has gone on. We hope to go into the tournament and play our very best basketball of the year.”