Viking basketball boys started out the New Year with a bang, beating Cascade and Snohomish at home to take a two-game lead in Wesco North with the league season at the halfway point. By vanquishing the Bruins and the Panthers Lake has now beaten all of its chief threats standing in the way of its defending its league championship. At Lake 62, Cascade 53 (December 5)
Lake had trouble putting the ball in the basket in this game but its overall depth and versatility and hustle wore down Cascade, paving the way for a breakaway win in the second half.
Key stats were Lake’s domination of the rebounding, 45-26, and its 14 steals, many of them leading to easy scores. But the biggest impact of all was the return of senior guard Arvid Isaksen to the lineup. After having missed Lake’s first nine games of the season due to a football foot injury, Isaksen came off the bench midway through the first quarter to play one of the best games of his Viking career.
Isaksen finished with 22 points on seven of 13 shots (including two threes), 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals. On a night when most of his teammates were having trouble with their shooting (Shane Kaska was just four of 21 from the field for eight points, and Kaska and Aaron Maw missed 16 of their 17 threes -- Lake was four of 26 from that range) Isaksen keyed a lively Viking comeback.
Cascade dominated the first quarter, taking a 16-7 lead at the break, as Lake made three of 15 shots in the period while the Bruins were able to penetrate to the basket for several lay-ins.
All that changed in the final three quarters. Cascade scored the first basket of the second quarter to go up by 18-7 but Lake’s aggressive pressing defense and relentless offensive attack turned the tide. Jarrett Hanson put back a rebound then drove for a lay-in for Lake’s first two baskets of the quarter. A short hook shot and another Hanson drive for a three-point play cut the gap deficit to 23-19, 3:23 before halftime. A Maw three followed by his rebound basket made it 25-24, and Lake finally took a 32-30 halftime lead on Maw’s rebound basket at the buzzer.
Lake started out the third quarter cold, missing its first six shots (five of them threes) while Cascade pulled out to a 37-32 lead. Isaksen stopped the bleeding with a three, and a pair of Kaska baskets regained the lead for Lake at 41-39, followed by two baskets by Zac Israel to make it 45-39. It was 45-41 after three quarters. Lake missed its first six shots of the fourth quarter but Cascade couldn’t capitalize, missing its first four. Then Isaksen took over for Lake, netting 11 points down the stretch, including four of four at the line, to help the Vikings pull away to a 62-53 final margin.
Mike Schneider did his usual good job of helping shut down Cascade’s high-scoring guard Chris McGrath. The latter scored just four of his 18 points after halftime.
Though Kaska struggled with his shooting touch, his overall contributions were impressive -- five assists, six rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots.
Maw had 12 points, nine rebounds, four assists, while Hanson had 10 points. Schneider’s usual all-around game included four assists and eight rebounds.
At Lake 69, Snohomish 54 (December 7) This one followed a similar path. Snohomish led 19-14 after one quarter but Lake took command after that, running off strings of 13 unanswered points in the second quarter and 17 straight in the third to turn the game into a runaway.
Kaska, a streak shooter, started out one for eight from the field, then hit his last four of the half and eight of his final 13 (including a trio of threes) for a game-high 25 points. He also had two assists and six rebounds plus a steal and a blocked shot.
Hanson, in one of the best efforts so far this season, notched 11 points on five of 10 from the field, and had an outstanding assist-to-turnover ratio: seven to one. He also had five rebounds. Equally stellar was Maw with 11 points, eight rebounds (five of them offensive) and three assists.
Twelve points by Kaska in the second quarter, and Hanson’s buzzer-beating 16-foot jumper, helped Lake to a 36-30 halftime lead.
Lake’s 17-point third quarter run featured an Isaksen three followed by his steal and basket in a three second span, as the Vikings led 57-39 heading into the fourth. Lake led by 22 points three times in the fourth quarter before Snohomish made a late 9-2 flurry against Viking reserves to pare the final margin to 69-54.
Vikings lose three in San Diego Christmas tourney Lake’s wins over Cascade and Snohomish pushed its league mark to 7-0, and it was 8-3 overall including three close losses at San Diego’s famous Surf-N-Slam Christmas tournament, Dec. 28 through 30.
Lake lost to Chartiers Valley of Bridgeville, Penn. (which entered the tournament undefeated and averaging 90 points a game) by 66-56 on Dec. 28, followed by losses the next two days to outstanding Washington State opponents Mt. Si by 73-65 and Bainbridge 58-57 in overtime.
Lake led Chartiers by 38-32 at halftime but was outscored 20-13 in the third quarter. The Vikings trailed by one point with about four minutes left when Duquesne recruit T.J. McConnell, a guard, hit a pair of threes and a two-pointer en route to a 39-point total.
Kaska had 21 points, Maw 12 and Schneider 11 for Lake but its bench was held to just four points. Against Mt. Si Lake fell into an early 12-point hole and could not quite dig itself out. Kaska again scored 21 points, with Maw and Hanson tallying 15 each.
The Bainbridge loss was especially tough -- Lake made a great fourth quarter rally, outscoring the islanders by 23-13 to force overtime, but could not take advantage of several opportunities to pull out the win in the extra period, losing by a point. Once again Kaska was Lake’s high scorer with 17, followed by Hanson 11, Maw 10 and Schneider 9.
Despite the three losses Coach Mark Hein was upbeat.
“I think we learned from the experience of playing top teams and this will help us in the playoffs,” he said.