The Williams Vikings took a 73-57 beating from rivals Northland Preparatory Academy (NPA) Dec. 16 in a game Williams head coach Rico Dunn said was hard fought and which improved on his team's performance from last week's games.
Dunn said the game was close with a lot of lead changes until NPA pulled away late in the game mostly because of Vikings turnovers. The Spartans capitalized on the errors hitting a number of three pointers. Late in the third quarter, the Spartans went on a 9-0 run and the Vikings could not recover.
In last week's game, Dunn had been concerned about his team's lack of aggressiveness and ability to come out of the locker room ready to play. This week, with some personnel changes and despite the loss, he said the Vikings have banded together.
"I'm really proud of the way our guys fought," Dunn said. "They are a bigger school and up a division. They had a lot of height on them. The fact that we hung with them tells me that we can do some damage down at our level."
Dunn said Colton Grantham played his heart out despite being sick. Leo Lopez scored 20 points and Austin Kennelly scored 19 points. Aidan Grantham and Andrew Karlsberger put up six points each and Devin Orozco scored two points.
"We had a really great night on the boards despite their height advantage," Dunn said. "Leo led in rebounds with 10."
But the Vikings' problems came down to turnovers.
"We were doing a lot of the stuff we wanted to do right but it just wasn't enough on that night," Dunn said.
On Dec. 19, the Vikings played the Mayer Wildcats and came out on top with a score of 62-47, even playing without Grantham who was out sick.
"We outscored them 16-7 in the first quarter, 25-10 in the second quarter," Dunn said. "We played a lot of the younger guys most of the second half to get them ready and developed and ready to help us out."
Lopez stepped up and gave the Vikings 15 points, Kennelly scored 13 and Grantham scored 9.
Again rebounds played a key role in the Vikes' win against the Wildcats. Lopez led the team with 11 rebounds. Ryan Smiley, Orozco and Grantham were on the boards as well.
"The younger guys weren't quite as aggressive on defense as I would have liked," Dunn said. "But they are developing and they did well by not being used to putting up the pressure on the varsity level."
Gabriel Chavez shot 100 percent from the field with five points. Smiley, Braden Heap, Jorge Zavala and Tim Hockensmith gave the team rebounds and forced turnovers during the second half. Danny Alvarado scored two points in the second half as well.
Dunn said he is trying to give some key younger players time on the court so the team can rely on them in the coming weeks when they play multiple games in a week or play back to back nights.
"Overall, I'm proud of the way the boys responded," he said. "I challenged them to pull together last week and this week I challenged them to step up and the guys responded. I'm really proud of them for doing that."