Vikings ride winning streak into playoffs

Douglas McEneaney

The Vikings still have their winning streak intact, finishing the season winning six consecutive games. The Vikings have won 16 of their last 17 games, heading into the playoffs this weekend. This past Saturday, the Vikings visited the Pioneers of Carroll College. For those of you who do not remember, it was the Pioneers that gave our Vikes their lone loss in conference and that loss definitely left a mark on our Vikings. Thus, our boys’ team did what everyone expected: they visited Carroll College and proved to the Pioneer community and all those paying attention to the Midwest Conference that the Vikings mean business.Saturday’s game, however, did not begin how the Vikings hoped it would. From tip-off to the first few minutes of the game, the Pioneers were in control. In the first four minutes, the Vikings saw themselves down nine points, not the exact payback they envisioned. The Vikings fought back and before the 1000-member audience knew it, the Vikings and Pioneers were battling for the lead. After a seesaw of leads, the first half ended with a tied score 43-43. Both teams were red-hot from the field, shooting about 50%. Whispers of a possible dej… vu circulated throughout the stadium as both teams headed into the locker rooms.

The second half began with both teams showing great urgency to build a lead. Both teams responded to any offensive progress the other made. The Vikings began the half shooting 5-5, four of which were three pointers. However, the Pioneers continued to hang on as they also went an impressive 5-6 from the field to open the half. From that point, the Vikings led by two points and the slight lead slowly began to develop into a healthy lead and with 12:27 left in the half, the Vikings had their first double-digit lead. The Vikings maintained their lead for the rest of the game, not allowing the Pioneers to get within eight point. The Vikings also hit their free throws during the final minutes, a part of their game that has showed much improvement as the season continued. The final score was 92-80 in favor of our Vikes.

Once again, the strength of the Vikings’ offense showed with all five starters scoring in the double-digits. A sixth double-digit scorer was sophomore John Dekker, who led all Vikings with 18 points. Junior Doug Kadison had a great game with 14 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. The Vikings as a whole shot over 50% from the field and about 45% from three-point range. Our Vikings ended the regular season with an impressive 20-2 record, 15-1 in conference. The 20-win season has not been achieved since going 22-0 two years ago. The powerful Viking offense and solid team defense is a promising combination for this weekend’s games.

The Vikings play at our own Alexander Gymnasium on Friday night at 7pm against St. Norbert College. The Vikings have won both games against the Green Knights this year, but still need the energy of their fellow students to cheer for them. The winner of Friday’s games plays Saturday for the Midwest Conference Championship, with the winner of that game getting an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Our Vikings lead the conference as the #1 seed, and additionally, go into Friday’s game ranked 16th in the nation according to d3hoops.com. Our Vikings are back and everyone should make an effort to attend the game Friday night. No excuses. Let’s show St. Norbert our Lawrence Viking pride.

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