Vikings win close battle with Big Reds

In the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s game, Sophomore Viking Collin Harder stole a pass and rushed down court, scoring a layup to extend his team’s lead by 11 points en route to a 77-68 Vikings win.

“That was huge,” said Viking Head Coach G.G. Harris of Harder. “We’ve talked about that right there where we may have it at five, and we’ve got to find a way to create a run right now and not let them cut it to four, three, or whatever. He made a great read on a pass, and made a great bucket in transition.”

The game opened with a back-and-forth affair starting with a basket from Vikings Junior Luke Sternberg, followed by multiple buckets from Missouri Valley Senior Brody Lager. The battle ultimately led to a tie at 11 points apiece, forcing Harris to use a timeout.

When play resumed, Big Red Senior Dane Janssen scored, putting his team back in front with back-to-back buckets. That was followed by a 3-pointer from Lager, going on a 7-0 run before Sternberg hit a floater from mid-range to end the first quarter at 18-13.

Harder opened the second quarter with a basket, cutting the lead to three, but Janssen responded with another shot, helping lead his team to another 6-point lead and forcing another timeout from Harris.

Following the timeout, Junior Camden Soukup cut the Big Red lead to three with a shot from 3-point range. With halftime approaching, the Vikings started to gain momentum with a 5-1 run. The game was tied at 33 at halftime, with Sternberg at 13 points and Lager having 19.

“He [Harris] said that we need to play better, and so we went out and got some shots and did some drills at the half, but we just knew we needed to step up our game,” Sternberg said.

The Vikings started the third quarter with two free throws and a field goal from the paint by Harder, followed by back-to-back buckets from Sternberg, including one he was assisted on by Harder. The Vikings took a 42-37 lead, forcing a Missouri Valley timeout.

When play resumed, the Vikings dominated with Sternberg and Sophomore Kaden Jorgensen making shots, and two free throws from Nick Denning, giving the Vikings a 48-38 lead.

Jorgensen made another shot, and Sophomore Drew Lee got in on the action getting fouled on a shot and sinking the extra point. The Vikings were up 11 entering the final quarter.

Soukup opened the final quarter with a bucket, but Lager answered back with a basket, followed by two free throws, cutting the Vikings lead back to within single digits at nine.

Lager than hit another shot, forcing Harris to use a timeout with just under four and a half minutes in regulation.

Following the timeout, both teams exchanged buckets, until the Vikings broke the game open with a steal by Harder to put his team up 11. Harder was sent to the free throw line on the following possession, making one of two free throws. Lager made another 3-pointer, but the Vikings hung on for the win, its third of the season, evening up their record at 3-3.

Multiple Vikings finished in double digits, including Sternberg who came away with 22 points.

“Last night didn’t go the way we wanted it to,” Sternberg said. “We knew we just had to attack the day, flush it, and I feel like we did a good job at playing our game, and came out with a win.”

The Vikings will have a few days off before its next opponent, the 1-5 Logan-Magnolia Panthers. The Panthers are led by Wes Vana with 86 points, averaging 17.2 points per game, and 35 rebounds, and Evan Roden with 13 assists.

“They’re playing much better,” Harris said of Logan-Magnolia. “They’re a super physical team, which I feel like our schedule to the point has prepared us for. Having two days of rest is going to be big for us, but it’ll be a good opportunity for us to see how we can push our pace of play, and attack with patience.”



Harlan Newspapers

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Harlan, IA 51537-0721

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