After a pair of wins at the Braggin’ Rights Holiday Tournament to get back to .500 on the season, VASJ coach Tony Redding is ready to see the Vikings tackle the second half of the schedule.
Unfortunately, the start of 2018 has been sacked by Mother Nature.
Like almost every team in Northeast Ohio, VASJ has had to deal with several postponements due to the weather since last taking the floor in Cincinnati on Dec. 29.
The Vikings won a pair of games at the Braggin’ Rights Holiday Tournament and were hoping to keep the momentum of the team efforts down south that allowed them to improve to 5-5 after a brutal early schedule.
However, VASJ won’t get back on the floor again until a road game at rival Cleveland Central Catholic on Jan. 13. That 15-day layoff isn’t how Redding would draw it up for a team that returned from Cincinnati playing with a lot of confidence, but he is proud of how his team has handled adversity throughout this season.
“The trip to Cincinnati was good for us, and even though we had a few individual standouts, I really have to applaud the entire team because that is how we won – it was a team effort,” Redding said. “Right now, they are champing at the bit to get back out on the floor and play a game.
“I think the schedule unknowingly early on prepared us for the rest of the year. Sometimes it is hard when you lose tough games to good opponents to keep morale up, but the girls have done a great job of staying positive and working hard and it is paying off now.”
In a 44-32 win over Taft at the Braggin’ Rights Holiday Tournament, Malia Ali led VASJ with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Serena Saba added 9 points, 5 steals and 4 assists.
The Vikings dominated Hughes, 59-14. Lia Campbell led the way with 13 points and Ali added 12 for VASJ, which led, 18-0, at the end of the first quarter and 32-2 at halftime.
“The first game we didn’t play as well as we are capable, but they were able to make enough plays to get the win. But, in the second game, we really locked down defensively and we have the athletes to get after teams and create some opportunities at the offensive end of the floor,” Redding said.
“(Malia) has been fantastic and has been producing double-doubles for us. Serena has been very consistent. Jaida Bates has been underrated, but very important. And I think inserting Aly Mastrocola into the starting lineup at point guard has given us a lift. But, I can not stress this enough, the entire team has contributed and I am very proud of all the girls.”
Redding said conditioning would be key as the Vikings prepare for CCC on Jan. 13 because of the time off due to weather.
VASJ will also welcome back Jenine Saba in the second half of the season, as she returns from a leg injury.