The Region V 3A/4A Tournament started off tough for the Vikings on Wednesday with a game against Mt. Edgecumbe.
Edgecumbe was seeded 3rd going into the tourney and had been one of the better teams in the league all season.
The Vikings started off with a strong first quarter.
“We were behind 15-11, but I felt that we were playing well. Our offense was very balanced. One of the things I look for is that we have multiple people scoring, and we had six different people scoring,” said Viking Head Coach Rick Brock.
That positive momentum carried into the second quarter, but the Vikings were starting to get into foul trouble.
“We had a couple of starters who had to sit out the last couple of minutes in the quarter, and when that happened Mt. Edgecumbe scored 6 quick points,” said Brock.
The Vikings were down 29-20 going into halftime.
All season the Vikings have been plagued by one quarter per game where they struggle offensively. In this game it was the third quarter.
“We only scored 6 points in and Mt. Edgecumbe’s pressure started to bother us. They got loose in transition and ended up having a big quarter themselves, so we were down 26-52 at the end of the third,” said Brock.
The fourth quarter was even with both teams scoring 11, for a Mt. Edgecumbe win, 63-37.
Taylor Pullar pulled in 12 points, Colby Bell added 8, Michael Brock added 7, and Dan Loucks had 6.
The loss put the Vikings in the losers bracket in the double-elimination tournament, where they faced Wrangell for the 6th time of the season.
It’s rare to play a team that many times. Four times in regular season, once in regionals and again at state isn’t unheard of, but to meet for the 6th time at the regional tournament is a little unusual.
In each of the previous five matchups with the Wrangell Wolves, Petersburg had come out on top, but all in very close, hard-fought games.
As would be expected the match up was neck and neck.
The Vikings were ahead by 2 points at the end of the first quarter, but again got in early foul trouble.
“One of our players had to sit for most of the first half, and we were behind by 1 at the end of the second quarter,” said Brock.
Fierce back and forth through the third quarter, closing it tied 28-28 points.
Then came the familiar plague.
“In the fourth quarter we only scored one field goal,” said Brock. “We shot well from the free throw line but we struggled scoring from the field.”
“Again we were in foul trouble, lost a key player with three our four minutes left in the game, and we just couldn’t recover from that,” said Brock.
The Vikings ended up losing 37-47.
Petersburg was led by Pullar with 10 points, Tristan Welton had 9, and Colby Bell had 8.
“It was disappointing. We had hoped to play better,” said Brock.
“With us struggling on the offensive end, we just didn’t score enough points to win a ballgame. You can’t score 37 points and tournament time and be successful.”
It was a somber note to end the season on, but the tournament had its positive notes.
Taylor Pullar was named to the All-Conference Team, acknowledging him as one of the top 12 players in the conference.
“He had a fantastic season. Not only excellent on the offensive end but on the defensive end always guarding the opposing teams best players. He played so hard. The younger guys fed off that,” said Brock.
Both Viking seniors made the All-Academic Team, showing that they took care of business in the classroom.
Hugh Fleming and Dan Loucks were named to the Good Sport Team.
“For the season, as a coach you ask your kids to improve during the season, work hard a team and be better at the end of the year. I really felt like we did that during the regular season,” said Brock. “We got better individually and as a team. What a great group of guys to coach, theyj ust came and worked hard every day.”
Looking ahead to next year the Vikings have a good core of players returning with valuable experience gained.
“We were the youngest team in the league this year and next year we return as experienced as anybody else, but it’s important for us to remember that all those teams finished ahead of us. Between now and next year we need to get better individually. That’s a big key to success in our sport.