Vikings beat Wheatland before losing to Crawford and Hulett

Aidan Noggle goes in for a breakaway layup. Pictured are Brock Peasley (12) and Nolan Schaffner (6) from Wheatland and Jacob Roper (32) from Guernsey.

GUERNSEY – The Vikings played three competitive games last week and came out 1-2 for their efforts.

The first game was played last Monday night in Guernsey and had Wheatland’s high-powered and undefeated JV team coming to town. Although the game was back and forth in the first quarter, Guernsey managed to hit a shot at the quarter buzzer to give them a 9-8 advantage.

Wheatland came hard in the second, made up the deficit and took the lead, heading into the locker room with a 21-14 lead. In what would be a defensive second half, Guernsey held Wheatland to only three points in the third quarter and four points in the fourth to secure the victory 30-28.

The game was back and forth in the final minute of the contest until a steal by Aidan Noggle and a breakaway and subsequent Wheatland foul sent him to the free throw line. Noggle hit both shots for the win.

Tristan Hohnholt led the team with 14 points. Dawson Bingham led the team with seven steals and Caleb Christensen led the team in rebounding with seven boards.

On Thursday, the boys traveled to Crawford, Nebraska, where they faced a tough D2 Nebraska school without leading scorer Hohnholt, who was out with illness. The Rams came out on fire and jumped out to a 20-7 lead and extended the lead to 31-15 by halftime. The second half was much the same as the Vikings could not seem to find their rhythm.

Christensen led the team in scoring with 10, and Bingham led the team in rebounds with nine and led the team in steals with two and in assists with five.

The final game of the week was pivotal for down the road seedings for the regional tournament. According to head coach Steve Zimmerman, Hulett is most likely a team they have to beat to get to state this year.

In the first quarter, things were tight as they usually are between these teams and Hulett held a slight 9-8 lead. A big run in the second quarter gave them a double-digit halftime lead at 27-14. Although Guernsey outscored Hulett 32-21 in the second half, it wasn’t enough. With eight seconds left and down by two points, the Vikings tried to go inside rather than for the perimeter shot and a tipped pass ended the game 48-46.

The leading scorer for the Vikings was Hohnholt with 19 points and he also led the team in steals with eight. He was followed by Christensen with 15 who also recorded a double-double pulling down 10 rebounds. He also led the team in assists with three. Hohnholt hit four three-point shots.

“Overall, the Vikings are playing with great effort in most parts of the game,” first-year head coach Zimmerman said. “The biggest challenge right now is consistency. Our offensive flow struggles because we are emphasizing all five players on the floor must complete their responsibilities and not rely on one or two players to carry the team. This has caused some growing pains especially in turnovers. We have exposed a need to develop our passing skills not only in fundamentals but in court vision and court sense. The last three games we have faced teams that have put strong pressure on our perimeter players causing arise in turnovers and lack of offensive flow. In the Wheatland and Hulett games our second half intensity has been very good with strong defensive performances. At Crawford we did not have a full team as Tristan Hohnholt was ill. The pressure defense and transition of Crawford was more than we could handle. Our bench did get some valuable playing time. The Hulett game was a measuring stick for where we are at verses teams we will see at regionals. We feel Hulett will be a team to beat for us to qualify for state. If we take away the last four minutes of the second quarter, we beat Hulett. I feel we are in a good place when we see them again.”

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