Viking Kayla Bostwick playing against Oak Harbor on Jan. 29.
In a fabulous week for Viking basketball, both the boys and the girls won a pair of District Tournament games, setting up a title match for each this Saturday at Jackson.
The boys face off with arch rival Stanwood, with whom they shared the Wesco North league title, splitting a pair of intense games in conference play, while the girls meet Marysville.
Both Viking teams have already qualified for State.
At Lake boys 74, Shorewood 44 (Feb. 17)
In its final home game of the season coach Mark Hein’s Vikings opened District play by dominating every phase of the game against Shorewood.
Riding Maw’s 27 points, four assists, two steals performance, Lake led at the quarter breaks by 22-17, 38-22, and 60-33. Shorewood stayed in contention for one quarter, on seven of 11 shooting, but Viking defense limited the visitors to 10 of 36 thereafter.
Lake hit on 50 percent of its field goals through three quarters and finished at 43 percent. Lake also controlled the glass, outrebounding Shorewood by 43-31, behind Arvid Isaksen’s 11 rebounds and seven by Mike Schneider.
Lake boys 81 at Jackson 77 (Feb. 20)
In one of the greatest comebacks in Viking history, Lake overcame 19-0 and 24-2 first quarter deficits to pull out an 81-77 victory against Jackson in the latter’s gym. The high-octane, drama-filled, non-stop action contest gave the near-capacity crowd more than its money’s worth.
In the opening minutes Lake appeared dazed by Jackson’s racehorse pace, hot shooting, and surprisingly physical pressure defense. It’s a tribute to Lake’s poise (and experience and depth) that the Vikings were able to turn all of this around and stick it to Jackson for most of the remainder of the game. Amazingly, Lake tied it up by halftime, 33-all, then broke out to a 54-46 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Kaska, mindful of missing a pair of crucial late-game free throws against Mariner in last year’s District, finally put this one on ice (almost) by swishing a pair at the line with six seconds remaining, giving Lake a four-point lead.
Emblematic of Lake’s depth and versatility, six Vikings finished in double-figure scoring (Kaska 21, Schneider 14, Isaksen 12, and Hanson, Maw and Zac Israel with 10 each), offsetting Jackson’s superstar junior guard Brett Kingma’s 33 points.
However, it was Lake’s “sixth man,” Jerodan Dodge, who may well have been Lake’s MVP in its epic comeback. Dodge came off the bench to provide instant relief midway through the first quarter, disrupting Jackson with his physical, all-around game.
Jackson blitzed Lake at the outset, making 11 of its first 15 shots, cruising to a 14-0 lead in the first four minutes, increasing that to 19-0 before Lake, which missed its first six shots (and committed seven turnovers in the first quarter), dented the scoreboard via Kaska’s mid-range basket.
Jackson was ahead 24-2 when Lake’s comeback finally began. Israel’s put-back, followed by lay-ins by Dodge and Maw (the latter beating the quarter buzzer) got the Vikings to within 24-8 at the break. Finally, Lake had begun to generate some momentum of its own.
Jackson seemed not to know what hit it in the second quarter, a complete reversal of the first period.
After Marshall Massengale opened the quarter with a lay-in, Lake made four straight baskets (a Schneider jumper and lay-in, a lay-in by Isaksen and a short shot by Kaska) to cut the deficit to 26-16, Kingma nailed a three and Austin O’Keefe made a lay-in to re-up Jackson’s lead to 31-16.
But the rest of the quarter belonged to Lake, which made 10 of its last 11 shots (the only miss was by Schneider, who rebounded it back into the basket).
Schneider’s put-back early in the third quarter gave Lake its first lead at 35-33, but Kinga followed that with a three (his last of the game) to regain the lead for the Wolves, 36-35. Kaska countered that with a three of his own to give Lake a lead it was not to lose (until Jackson came back to tie it in the fourth quarter) at 38-36, with 6:15 left in the quarter.
Lake steadily increased the lead throughout the period, with Maw baskets twice giving the Vikings an eight-point margin.
Lake’s largest lead of the game, 54-45, was provided by Israel’s three just before the quarter ended with Lake on top by 54-46.
Six turnovers and, at one stretch, six missed free throws in seven attempts, plagued Lake in the wild fourth quarter in which the two teams combined to score 78 points and to shoot 28 free throws.
The ultimate difference proved to be Lake’s ability to answer Jackson’s offensive barrage with key baskets of its own. Lake made eight of its 13 field goal tries in the quarter, and when it mattered most made its final four free throws.
Jackson’s comeback started at 6:30 with Kingma making three free throws followed by Ryan Todd’s three-point play to tie it at 56-all with 5:53 left.
Kaska’s three-point play just 13 seconds later gave Lake the lead for good at 59-56.
Isaksen’s three at 3:31 made it 68-61, and lay-ins by Kaska and Israel upped that to 76-68 with just 1:16 left.
Game over? Not by a long shot.
Baskets by Todd, O’Keefe and Massengale, the latter on a steal with 31 seconds left, pared Lake’s lead to 77-75.
Maw and Hanson stepped to line with 26 and 18 seconds remaining, respectively, and each missed two free throws, keeping the score at 77-75.
It all came down to a Massengale miss, a heavily-defended short-range running shot, rebounded by Kaska who was promptly fouled with six seconds left.
Both of Kaska’s free throws barely rippled the net, giving Lake what normally would be an insurmountable 79-75 lead, but Lake fouled Massengale as he drove to the basket with two seconds left. He connected on both, making it 79-77.
Lake was able to inbound the ball to Hanson, who made both of his free throws with one second remaining, to seal the win at 81-77.
In this all-out shootout Lake finished with superior numbers in the field goal department, making 33 of 63 (including five of 15 threes) for 52 percent, to Jackson’s 29 of 66 (including six of 23 threes) for 44 percent. Lake’s near-fatal free throw shooting was 10 of 19, to Jackson’s 13 of 19.
Lake won the vital rebounding battle, 38 to 33, with Dodge and Kaska sharing game-high honors in that department with eight each. Of Schneider’s five rebounds, four were on the offensive end.
Lake committed 18 turnovers, Jackson 17.
Isaksen’s eight assists were another key for Lake, with the remainder of its 26 total assists evenly distributed.
Lake’s defensive strategy was to closely hound Kingma all game long, hoping to wear him down by the fourth quarter, an assignment tackled by several different Vikings. Stats reveal that this was a successful ploy. Kingma made seven of his first nine shots in the opening five minutes (including a pair of threes) during which time he scored 16 points.
For the remainder of the game he was four of 17 (he was four of 17 from three point range for the game).
Viking girls 52 at Jackson 34 (Feb. 16)
Lake put together a mind-blowing 24-point streak (including a 19-0 shutout in the second quarter) to close out the first half to take control of a game it had trailed in by 13-3 in the opening minutes. Lake cruised from there to the 52-34 win.
And this was in Jackson’s own gym, against Wesco South’s number two team, which had beaten Lake 58-50 in a non-league season opener.
The game was a microcosm of Lake’s season. Picked in the coaches’ pre-season poll to win Wesco North, Lake lost 4 of its first five games, then suddenly put it all together, winning 16 of its last 17 games, the only loss a close one to Monroe, which shared the league title with Marysville, with Lake just one game behind.
Coach Randall Edens’ Vikings, who are headed to State for the fourth time in the past five years, are a well-balanced team with each player contributing a key role.
There are no superstars here (though Meghan Warbis is one of Wesco’s top rebounders she often goes largely unnoticed and unheralded, and freshman Brooke Pahukoa has the talent to become a star in the future).
The Vikings have only one player averaging in double figures, Stephanie Schumacher, who scored 18 points against Jackson, averages a fraction over 10 points a game for the season.
Viking girls 49 Monroe 48 (at Marysville Feb. 19)
This was tight throughout, with Lake holding a narrow lead for much of the game.
Lake’s balance and depth (no player in double figures) countered Monroe star junior guard Suzanna Ohlsen’s 22 points, with Warbis’ 17 rebounds (13 in the first half) a key factor for the Vikings.
Lake led 10-7 at the quarter break, 20-19 at halftime, and it was tied at 34-all after three quarters.
Warbis’ lay-in to open the fourth quarter gave Lake a 36-34 lead, which was increased to 44-38 when Schumacher sank a three with 3:11 left.
Monroe, behind Ohlsen, staged a late-game surge, including a banked-in three by Jordyn Robertson (Monroe’s only basket from that range in 16 attempts) and a pair of Ohlsen free throws with 1:04 left which gave the Bearcats a 47-46 lead.
Lake retook the lead immediately, via Kayla Bostwick’s lay-in from a feed by Corinne Burke -- 48-47 Lake, with 50 seconds left.
Burke made one of two free throws with 14 seconds left to make it 49-47, and Ohlsen, with a chance to tie the game with nine seconds left, missed the first of two free throws but made the second to cut it to 49-48.
On the subsequent throw-in Burke was surrounded by three Bearcats and lost the ball out of bounds near the Monroe basket with four seconds left.
With no timeouts remaining, Monroe was unable to get the ball to Ohlsen for a final shot -- instead, Kierra Wilkins took a running sixteen footer which missed and was rebounded by Lake’s Abby Molstre, sealing the win and sending Viking players and fans and coaches into a frenzied State-bound celebration (similar to the one the boys were to experience the next night at Jackson).