GUERNSEY – The Vikings faced a couple of nonconference foes last week and came out with a split, beating Crawford High School 37-33 and falling to Hullett 69-55.
The boys come out like racehorses and an overconfident Crawford team was fortunate that the Vikings were only shooting 28% in the first quarter. The Vikings prevailed and led 11-6 at the end of one and 26-20 at the half.
By the end of the third quarter the Vikings seemed to be on automatic pilot, slowly adding points and at the three-quarter mark had a double-digit lead. Crawford, who had been reduced to shooting outside after having their inside shots rejected and altered started to heat up and ended the game with five solid shots from the arc.
For what the Vikings had in height advantage, the Rams had in quick pass and shot capabilities on the outside. The Vikings coaches went hoarse trying to get their defensive perimeter guards to get out on the shooters and Crawford had many uncontested shots or shots where the Viking defense faked low and didn’t get their hands up.
Had the perimeter defense been as ferocious as the post defense, surely the Vikings would have walked away with a 20 point lead.
It got close and tight in the fourth quarter as the Rams inched closer. The Rams didn’t have an answer for the rebounding tandem of Caleb Christiansen, Jacob Roper and Rawland Isabell who accounted for 23 rebounds. Most of those came on the defensive end of the court.
Offensively, hidden in the stats of “outrebounding” the Vikings managed only 4 offensive rebounds compared to the Rams who pulled down 15 offensive rebounds. Crawford was much scrappier following shots and fighting for boards after missed shots.
Another area of concern was that Crawford only had 11 turnovers while the Vikings ended up with 20. Although the Vikings did better in this game dictating tempo, the lesson was lost going into Hullett who matched up better with the Guernsey-Sunrise bigs.
Tristan Hohnholt was the leading scorer against Crawford with 12 points while Brian McCoid ended up with 11 and Caleb Christensen had eight. Hohnholt also led the team with five assists. Roper was a beast on the boards and ended up with 10 boards.
The game in Hullett did not go as planned and posed as yet another wake-up call for a Viking team that can be in the mix at the state tournament this year. There are miles to go before they get there.