On Saturday, January 26, the Lady Vikings basketball team went on the road to face off with the NDCL Lions, and came home with a hard fought 53-34 loss.
From the opening tip, the Vikings were the more aggressive team. They began the first quarter by diving on the floor after loose balls, and driving hard to the hoop to earn trips to the free-throw line. Sophomore Willo Singleton, junior Michele Blackshear, and senior Kenya Ball all hit two foul shots apiece, and Ball also added a three-point shot early in the first quarter. The aggressive play from the Vikings stifled the NDCL offense as they held the Lions to only two field goals in the opening period. The Lady Vikings led the Lions 10-7 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, NDCL leading scorer, Liberatore, began to find a rhythm against the high-pressure VASJ defense. She was able to attack the basket and draw fouls to get to the free-throw line. During one stretch of the quarter, Libertore converted on six consecutive free throws. But junior Lia Campbell, freshman Amaya Parker, seniors Iyana Smith and Kenya Ball all answered with field goals, holding on to their slim lead as the first half was winding down. With just under a minute left in the first half, NDCL converted on a three-point attempt to take a 21-20 lead heading into the locker room.
As the second half began, the Vikings’ offense could not find the same success they had in the first. Blackshear continued to be aggressive and tried to give the Vikings some life as she made a pair of free throws, and Iyana Smith made a field goal as well but that was all the Vikings could score in the quarter. Meanwhile, the NDCL offense started to click. Urhan, Ettinger, and Leinweber combined for 14 third-quarter points for NDCL, helping stretch their lead out to 35-25 heading into the final period.
The fourth quarter saw the return of some of the offensive success that the Vikings found early in the game. Blackshear went on a seven-point scoring run with the help of excellent passes from Smith and Ball to keep VASJ within striking distance of NDCL. As the Vikings were making their run, momentum was halted as senior leader Lia Campbell went down with an ankle injury. The Vikings were unable to regain the rhythm that they had found and NDCL was able to extend their lead to win the game 53-34.
The Lady Vikings play again Monday, January 28, as they travel to Padua Franciscan. JV will tip at 5:30 p.m. and varsity will follow at 7 p.m.