12/3/2013 10:32:00 AM Vikes put together fourth
quarter win against Camp Verde 64-55 win starts season on the right foot, annual Williams Holiday Classic Tournament Thursday-Saturday at Williams High School
Colton Grantham shoots from outside during the Williams Vikings’ 64-55 season opening win against Camp Verde Nov. 26. Marissa Freireich/WGCN
The Williams Vikings and the Camp Verde Cowboys fought for control of their first basketball game of the season Nov. 26, but when the final buzzer sounded it was the Vikings who came out on top with a score of 64-55.
Both teams battled to maintain the lead throughout the game, said Vikings coach Rico Dunn.
Early in the second half, the Vikings led by 10 points but then allowed Camp Verde to come back and build up a 10-point lead of their own.
"Their strengths were their outside shooting," Dunn said of the Camp Verde Cowboys. "They had about two or three guards that could really hit the three, and that's what gave them that run."
The Vikings trailed going into the fourth quarter but managed to shift the momentum and regain the lead toward the end of the second half.
"I kept telling them to keep attacking the basket and work the foul trouble that Camp Verde was in," Dunn said. He also advised the team to "work for the open shot and pick up the intensity on defense" by switching to the more aggressive version of the 2-3 zone. The change in defense prevented the Cowboys from scoring for several minutes.
Overall, Dunn said the Vikings played good defense in their first game of the season, although they lacked aggression at times.
"I think our pressure really led to a lot of mistakes by Camp Verde and some key turnovers for us that got us back in the game and gave us a 10 point lead to work with," he said.
Offensively, Dunn said several players hit key shots to help the Vikings reclaim the lead toward the end of the game, including Austin Kennelly, Christian Plascencia, Devin Orozco and Martin Esparazo.
"Offensively we're still shooting a little lower than I'd like percentage wise but we're starting to get better looks and taking advantage of what the defense gives us at times," Dunn said.
As for the future, Dunn said the Vikings still have a lot to work on but can progress throughout the season.
"We've got some great strengths to work off of, and if we just keep pushing towards taking better shots and keeping our intensity level on defense up we can have a promising season," Dunn said.
The Williams-Grand Canyon News went to print before the Vikings took on Chino Valley on the road yesterday at 7 p.m.
The Vikings will take the court again when they play host to the Williams Holiday Basketball Tournament Thursday through Saturday. Game times are yet to be determined.