With the Vikings’ backcourt clicking, the senior boys basketball team rolled over Prince Albert St. Mary’s in the third place game at their home tournament this past weekend to win bronze.
The 12-team tournament had a mix of both 5A and 4A teams, and that victory for the Vikings could be huge in the lead up to the provincial Hoopla tournament.
“This was one of the most important weekends leading up into playoffs because it set everybody up on how they’re going to be ranked going into regionals,” Vikings head coach Jamie Sommerfeld said on Monday morning. “In beating [St. Mary’s], it sets us up very well to go into the [regionals] with that first round bye, now being ranked first. It’s not official, but that’s more than likely what’s going to happen.”
Although they fell to Peacock Collegiate from Moose Jaw in the semifinals, they still showed heart in that game, battling back from a 20-point deficit to tie the game in the fourth.
But in the end Moose Jaw pulled away and edged out the Vikings.
“It was a great game, very exciting to watch,” Sommerfeld said. “That’s what you want in the semifinal game.”
In the following game against St. Mary’s, the Vikings jumped out to a lead early on and never looked back.
They got significant contributions from guards Damon Dutton, Jordan Poitras, and Riley Rathwell, who are a focal point of their offence, but their big men stepped up too.
After building a big lead early, they also were able to rotate their bench in the second half.
“The boys shot really well,” Sommerfeld said. “We rebounded well. We kind of owned the boards a little bit and owned the paint…Our boys had a lot of energy so we got to kind of really rotate our bench through.
“Game in and game out it’s our backcourt that does the trick.”
Dutton is a Grade 11 student, while Poitras and Rathwell are only in Grade 10.
That has coach Sommerfeld excited for what is to come.
“We are an incredibly young team and very talented in the backcourt,” he said. [And] right now the exciting part is our big men are [also] getting better and better.”
That youth also shows from time to time, which is understandable.
Particularly it shows itself in holes on the defensive end of the floor.
“For them it’s about learning what they can do to be a little bit more consistent and then also defensively,” Sommerfeld said. “They’re learning to really get low and start grinding away and be a little bit tougher on the defensive side of the ball.”
Regionals for the Vikings are next week in Prince Albert, where they will look to make the most of their top seed. They must finish top two to qualify for Hoopla.
The JP II Crusaders also played in the Vikings tournament this past weekend, winning in the consolation final on the ‘B’ side. They are a 4A team.
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