By Greg Price
As the Vauxhall Vikings boys basketball team makes its New Year’s Resolution to continue to plunder its opposition, 2018 saw the team enjoy its fair share of success.
A nine-player roster which is Grade 11-heavy, three players have returned from last year’s roster.
“It’s basically a new team again like always. There isn’t a lot of carry over, but we had our struggles last year,” said Daryl Johnson, head coach of the Vauxhall Vikings boys basketball team. “This is a new group, and they have meshed really well pretty quickly from the start. We’ve been playing some pretty good ball.”
It’s been a bit uneven as far as quality of opposition goes throughout a brief River Ridge Basketball League and tournament season, where one game will see very even opposition to the next where the Vikings are running away with the game.
“There have been a few games with teams you want to play and other games where it’s just games that you play,” said Johnson. “It’s hard to focus sometimes for games like that. Sometimes you get the matchups you want, sometimes you are over matched and others undermatched.”
The Vikings have been in three tournaments this year starting off with one in Calgary that had to be cut short because of weather conditions, but nevertheless, was able to win both its games it played on the Friday of the tournament against 3A opponents. The Vikings won the Warner tournament, but some teams dropped out at the last minute and replaced by JV teams. The Vikings tournament run in Coaldale featured the team’s best game of the season in a tight win against Kainai.
“That was a stronger tournament, where it was back and forth against Kainai and I think we won by one or two points. That was probably our best game competition wise,” said Johnson.
A team that lacks height, where Johnson noted his tallest player is 6-foot-2, the Vikings will have to have a need for speed in its expectations to win basketball games.
“Our fast break has definitely been our strength. We have kids who are willing to run and get up the court while also realizing when they need to stay back and rebound. They are reading that pretty well,” said Johnson. “We do have some holes to fill and we are working on that. We have been playing man-to-man defence as opposed to the last couple of years where it’s been more zone. But we have the types of bodies that can play that type of defence.”
The Vikings host Bow Island on Jan. 16. The Vauxhall Queens girls basketball team plays at 6 p.m. with the Vikings following at 7:45 p.m. The Vikings are off to Stirling on Jan. 18 for a weekend tournament.
“It’s always a good tournament and they have a new gym, so it’ll be nice,” said Johnson. “This is a team that is always willing to work hard and compete and give me everything that they have.”