By Dave Pearce
The North Posey Viking Saturday night loss to the Mount Vernon Wildcats might be described in just a few words…the first four-and-a-half minutes of the basketball game.
The Wildcats came out of the game ready and jumped all over the homestanding Vikings, nailing their first six shots from the field to take a 14-2 lead.
The Vikings spend the remainder of the evening trying to find a way back into a game where the Mount Vernon Wildcats were shooting better than 50 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. It never really happened.
Junior Bryce Newman got the Wildcats on the board first but Wes harness answered.
Then Brian Koch hit a three, Collin Varner nailed back-to-back threes, and Newman scored again before the Vikings could get back on the scoreboard. Cody Ungetheim stopped the bleeding with two free throws. Alec Werry scored to pull the Vikings back to within 14-6 before Koch nailed another three and Newman went coast to coast to run out to a 19-6 lead.
Werry’s two free throws and a Tyler Atkins putback pulled the Vikes to within 19-10 at the first stop.
The Vikings were not without their chances to make a game of it, especially in the second period when Kyle Whitmore and Koch traded 3-point baskets. Whitmore then caught on fire and nailed two more back-to-back 3-pointers and the Vikings were within three at 22-19.
But River VanZant answered only to have Harness go coast to coast.
Jevin Redman hit the first of two free throws before another Whitmore three brought the Vikings to within 35-23.
But back-to-back 3-pointers by Newman and a bucket inside by VanZant gave the Wildcats a 32-28 lead at the half.
Ungetheim and Whitmore scored the first two buckets of the second half and it appeared the Vikings might make a game out of it but the Wildcats had too many weapons.
Newman, Varner, and Newman nailed successive 3-pointers and the Wildcats owned a 40-28 lead with 1:48 remaining in the third period.
“That’s the best we have seen them play and you have to give them and Coach Hostetter a lot of credit,” North Posey Coach Heath Howington said. “They are a senior-laden team and they played like it tonight.”
Koch, Varner, and Varner again nailed 3-point buckets to give the Wildcats a 49-28 lead two minutes into the final period.
From the point forward, the Vikings outscored the Wildcats 28-19 but the hot-shooting Wildcats showed why they are undefeated and the Vikings were there 11th Victim of the season.
But all was not gloom and doom in the Viking locker room following the game. While Howington is never pleased after a loss, he knows his team will not see the Wildcats again until next season and he realizes that the matter at hand is to try and stay in the conference race and prepare for the sectional tournament.
“Our motto since day one has been to be better today than we were yesterday and we are going to continue to work,” Howington said. “Our bench has been really solid for us and we are starting to establish our roles. We cut it down to two after falling behind 14-2. We battled back and our guys showed a lot of guts when we went on a 21-9 run. That was a huge positive but we closed out the half giving them a 7-point run. That deflated us and we just didn’t seem to be able to recover from that>’
Howington said he told his team at the half that it wasn’t going to be a light-switch and that we would just have to continue to chip away and his team did that early in the second half.
“It seemed like every time we would make a basket they would come down and make a perimeter shot,” Howington said. “We switched to a zone when we got down but it is just had to get down do far. I was pretty pleased with the way we played but we are just going to have to find a way to eliminate those lapses.”
The Vikings will travel to a well-coached Kevin Oxley team this Friday night. A win would give the Vikings a good shot at remaining in the thick of the Pocket Athletic Conference race.
“They will we ready for us,” Howington said.
Newman led the team in scoring with 22, while his cousin, Collin Varner finished with 20. Brian Koch finished with 15. Jevin Redman fnished with seven and River VanZant had Four.
For the Vikings, Whitmore had 15 while Harness had 12. Werry and Ungetheim had 10 apiece and Bender had seven and Adkins had two.
Mount Vernon is 10-0 while the Vikings fall to 3-7. The Vikings won the reserve game 37-34.