By Greg Price
A small contingent of Vikings made its way up north to Edmonton and managed to plunder a bronze medal at a tournament.
The Vauxhall Vikings boys basketball team managed a 3-1 record at a tournament at Millwoods Christian, despite a small roster in games that featured two blowouts and two close contests.
The Vikings qualified for the playoff bracket in a unique eight-team relegation round in which it beat R.F. Staples from Westlock handily.
From there, the Vikings earned a six-point victory over Edmonton Christian, as the Vikings gutted out the win despite not firing on all cylinders.
“Our defence saved us by far. Our offence, we weren’t hitting, things weren’t clicking. Our defence held us in it all game long and we never quit,” said Daryl Johnson, head coach of the Vauxhall Vikings boys basketball team. “It was a good building game for us for the rest of the season, knowing our defence can hold us in games. Guys who are returning players have come a long way on the defensive side of the ball. Our defence is quite a bit better than it was last year with the consistency and effort, not letting bad offence turn into bad defence.”
The Vikings then squared off against the hosts in the semifinal where it dropped a six-point decision to get pushed to the bronze-medal game which the Vikings won in a blowout.
“It was more of a thing of not having enough guys more than anything. I went up there with eight guys, and someone got hurt in our first game,” said Johnson. “We were running with seven guys and they pressed us almost the whole game. We just didn’t have enough gas at the end. It was still close right down to the last minute, then we threw up a couple of shots that didn’t hit anything. It was a good game for the boys in learning how to handle pressure in knowing what to do and what not to do.”
The Vikings played Milk River on the road yesterday with results unavailable at press time. The Vikings do not return to tournament play until February.