12/26/2012 11:16:00 AM Vikings drop one at home to visiting Bulldogs Williams Vikings lose 59-41 to Winslow Bulldogs Dec. 20, second straight loss and first regular season home loss heading into the winter break
Above: Jeff Brownlee rises up for a three-point attempt in the fourth quarter against Winslow Dec. 20. Below: Julian Zamorano (No. 24) drops in a floater with teammate Christian Plasencia (No. 43) in position to grab the offensive rebound. The Vikings attempt at a second half comeback fell short. David Yankus/WGCN
WILLIAMS, Ariz. - The Williams Vikings (3-4) lost 59-41 to the visiting Winslow Bulldogs (11-4) Dec. 20, finishing 2012 with two straight regular season losses. Not exactly how the Vikes wanted to head into the two-week winter break.
The Vikings started the game up 5-3 very early, but the Bulldogs then quickly put up eight straight points, the first of their many scoring runs in the first half. Winslow led 40-16 at halftime.
"Winslow's a good team, and when you play them you absolutely have to be on top of your game," said Red McFerren, Williams head basketball coach. "We still played hard in a losing effort, and besides it being a loss I think it was one of our better games."
McFerren said the Vikings played as a team and really made an effort to pass the ball. Unfortunately, many of the passes were way off and the guards tended to be out of control at too many times.
McFerren said that the players get too excited sometimes when they see a teammate breaking open and rush the pass, or simply overreact to defensive pressure or a double-team. The head coach added that this was the most hustle he's seen from his team in two weeks though, which points to good things in the future.
"We've had trouble scoring since Italy [Alessandro Fadda] went out," McFerren said. "Jeff [Brownlee] brings the ball up and sometimes tries to do too much. They know Jeff is the man, if they can shut him down, then they can usually shut us down."
Fadda makes a difference though because he can help take that pressure off Brownlee. McFerren said Fadda can be the guy to score 15 or 20 points if they need it. He also said Joaquin Salaz can score too, but against Winslow he just wasn't on, his shots just were not falling.
The full-court press put on by Winslow seemed to bother the Vikings too. When the Vikings did break it they would make a bad pass or miss a layup and not come away with any points. The Vikings also struggled with their free throw shooting, leaving too many free points off the scoreboard.
"We looked good in certain situations, but we didn't get point production out of any of them. We missed too many easy ones," said McFerren, referring to all the missed layups, put-backs, and free throws.
McFerren did say he was pleased with the positive attitude of his players during and after the Winslow game. He said he understands they've had some struggles lately but hopes his team will continue to not let some recent losses affect their morale.
During the two-week winter break from games McFerren said the team needs to work on rebounding because they are still having trouble grabbing the ball in traffic, including loose balls.
"That kills us, that could be an extra five possessions or more a game, which could turn into 10 or more points," McFerren said. "That completely changes the complexion of the game."
Fadda will return to the Vikings lineup for their next game, an away game against Ash Fork Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. The Ash Fork game is one of three games in five days that Williams will play to start 2013.
"I'm excited for Italy coming back, that makes a big difference, and I'm excited for the new year," McFerren said. "We need the break from basketball and from each other for a bit, but we'll come back and practice hard to get ready for the next part of the season."
The Vikings outscored the Bulldogs 25-19 in the second half, including a big 14-point third quarter, but unfortunately it was too little too late, the hole was already dug too deep. The Vikings were unable to complete the comeback attempt in front of their home crowd.