Vikings bounce back in Classic
Curtis Johnson wanted to make sure that he and Niko Klansek were missed after not playing at all in the season opener against 3A Yerington.
Though the two big men didn’t start, nor did they see playing time until starting the second quarter, no one could doubt that the senior duo’s return was highly anticipated.
In the Vikings’ first play of the second quarter, already leading 14-3, Klansek obtained the ball on a fast break. He faked toward the hoop amid a swarm of defenders, then dished a high floater right in front of the rim where Johnson was waiting for the slam dunk.
Yep, the two were missed, and they missed the team.
“It felt pretty good coming off the bench and all, and playing at the level coach wants us to,” said Johnson, the the 6-foot-7 senior who scored eight points and made three blocks. “And that was the result of it right there.”
The Vikings did indeed put on an show in front of their home crowd, beating the Buhach Colony Thunder 73-30 in their first home game in the Viking Rotary Classic.
Junior 6-foot-3 guard Dan Tobin led the Vikings with 15 points. Graham Hoffman and Phil Griffith both had seven points and Klansek, Jared Wood, Kevin Woodman and Dan Tilles each had six.
“Everybody concentrated today (and) came out fired up and ready,” Tobin said. “Our last game we didn’t come out like this. Everybody picked it up and we played better.”
All 15 of the Vikings suited up and ready to play Thursday night scored except for three. They outperformed the Thunder in virtually every category, with 14 steals to the Thunder’s seven, and with approximately half as many turnovers.
Head Viking coach Derek Allister said he was pleased with the team’s performance, particularly after such a poor performance in Yerington.
“This has been the best passing display I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” Allister said, noting that the team’s hustle and flow was much improved.
And although they let down at times, with the Thunder outscoring the Vikings 13-12 in the third period and taking the momentum for a while, the Vikings came back again in the fourth to take and 18-4 scoring advantage.
The Vikings led throughout. Tilles and Tobin both scored six and Chris Perry came up with two in the first period. They held the Thunder to three points.
With Johnson and Klansek, Keenyn Wallace, Chris Perry and Chris Cosmi starting the second, the Vikings had their most prolific period, outscoring the Thunder 29-10. Klansek scored all seven of his points, hitting a nice three pointer. Tobin came in with six and Phil Griffith racked up five. Wood hit four, and Perry hit a three-pointer.
In the third period, the Thunder came out ready. Tim Lopez hit four and Yzeel Orme hit three. South Tahoe didn’t get it’s first basket until three minutes passed.
“We played better defense. We switched to man-to-man,” said Thunder head coach Shane Gentry of the third period. But he was disappointed overall with how his young team performed.
The Thunder are without seniors and start two sophomores. Still, Gentry said this was an unusually bad game for them.
“We could have played 2,000 times better,” said 6-foot-3 junior Darrel Wright, who finished the night with six points. “We weren’t running our offense because they were pressuring our ball carriers.”
Sophomore Israel Resendez led the Thunder with seven points, followed by Wright and Tim Lopez with six each.
South Tahoe plays Soquel at 7 p.m. Friday and Atwater at 3 p.m. Saturday to conclude the Classic.
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