GUERNSEY – Less than two weeks ago the Vikings came out of the holiday break on top of the world and sailed into Lingle-Ft. Laramie only to have the wind taken out of their sails with a 21-point loss.
Friday night the Vikings exacted their revenge with a healthy team and two key players back on the court. From the opening tip, the Vikings playing with home confidence ran the Doggers off the court by a score of 60-41.
Guernsey-Sunrise had a lead up over 23 points in the fourth quarter but coasted to victory and settled on the 19-point victory.
The game started out with all the action that a rivalry revenge game could muster. Eight minutes in and there was gridlock, tied at 10-10. Unlike the first game where the Vikings set a torrid tempo and then ran out of gas with limited reserves, Coach Taylor Dick was dictating tempo from the sidelines and urged his team to use a controlled break and patience if the play didn’t develop.
The team that Lingle played Friday night was not the same team they played at their house in early January. By halftime the Vikings had built a nine-point lead and definitely had the Doggers on the run using a combination of power on the boards with 6’4” junior Caleb Christensen and 6’2” senior Rawland Isabell. In addition, the guards were at full staff and junior Brian McCoid and sophomore Tristan Hohnholt were surgically cutting into the heart of the LFL defense with quick cuts and slashes to the basket.
The question that coach Dick posed at halftime was if his team could maintain composure, control and momentum in the face of an LFL team that was scrappy but were showing signs of frustration.
Once again, led by guards who were content to mix their run-and-gun style with the ability to completely bring the game to a halt with four standing guards on the perimeter were following coach D’s recipe to a “t.”
The Vikings built a 55-34 lead by the end of the third quarter and into the fourth quarter had the lead nearly to the quarter-century mark.
Honholt led all scorers with 20 points and he also had five assists. He also shot 75% from the field. Christensen ended up with 12 points, 10 rebounds and five blocked shots while McCoid scored a dozen, had three blocked shots and led the team in assists with six and steals with two. He also contributed eight rebounds. Returning guard Aidan Noggle scored nine points. Isabell scored four points and had 10 rebounds while Dawson Bingham contributed three points and pulled down four rebounds. Three-point shots: Hohnholt (2), Noggle (1), McCoid (1).
The Vikings outrebounded the Doggers 32-15.
“The Lingle game was really fun,” Coach D said. “We, for the first time this year, saw a glimpse of what we could be. This was our first win over a quality opponent and it happened with an emphasis. I still believe we have a lot more potential still. But we are just starting to see what we really can be. It felt great to beat Lingle finally, and the kids were the most excited I have ever seen them. And I am really proud of them for finally beating them and maintaining the integrity of the game and using good sportsmanship. Against Lingle, we really looked like a real threat in 1A if we keep going up. Now we will look forward to our rematch with Lusk and show more improvement.”
Saturday the Vikings were on the road to Hannah Elk Mountain who lost several players to graduation last year. HEM has only won one game this year and the Vikings were looking to take up where they left off the last time they faced and defeated the Miners in last year’s regional tournament. By the time the dust settled, the Vikings won going away, 64-29, not allowing HEM to reach double-digits in any of the four quarters.
Guernsey-Sunrise is mastering the art of tempo control. They are learning when to run and when to hold. Such was the case at HEM when the first order of business was running out of the gate and establishing dominance.
By the end of the first quarter, the boys had a 21-6 lead before they practiced freezing the ball in extreme ball control in the second quarter where they were content to outscore HEM 9-8 to hold a 30-14 halftime lead.
They put their running shoes and pressure defense on again in the third quarter and utilized their bench players from the perimeter as Noggle knocked down six of 12 from the arc, Bingham hit two of three from the same place and Nathan VanNatter hit one.
After the third quarter run and putting a wining distance between them and the Miners, the score was 51-21 and the Vikings held HEM to 21 points in three quarters while the boys from Guernsey scored that many in the third quarter.
Guernsey-Sunrise has been a hard team to scout due to the fact that each week could produce a different leading scorer. One thing that is constant, however is the rebounding prowess of the Vikings who once again dominated the boards 36-26.
Noggle led all scorers with 20 points, Christensen had his second double-double in two days scoring 12 and again pulling down 10 rebounds. He has not only been one to alter many shots inside, but collected another blocked shot. McCoid ended with 11 points and also led the team with five assists and four steals. Isabell had eight points and seven rebounds, Bingham had six points and four assists, VanNatter had three points, Caleb Haase and Dominic Ramirez each contributed two points. The Vikings committed only nine turnovers in the game.
“Against Hanna I was most impressed with how Brian kept the offense and defense together and kept us from being lazy,” Coach D said. “After a big win like that, it is easy to have a letdown. But thanks to Brian and Rawland, we really kept on flowing. They only had five kids and it was good to take care of business and get some of our other kids in there. But we know that if we want to win at state, there is more to do still. Great weekend to be the Vikings, all in all. I can't complain about anything.”
The boys will be back running the home court Friday at 3:30 p.m. and then will be back home again Saturday as Arvada-Clearmont comes to town.