The Vanier Vikings knew they couldn’t take the Cornerstone/Riverview Falcons easily in the biggest game of the season for both teams. The Vikings used a strong late fourth quarter push to defeat the Falcons 80-55 in senior boys quarterfinal action on Thursday evening.
The two teams exchanged the lead through the first half and the Falcons even outscored the Vikings in the third quarter, but there just wasn’t enough in the tank to keep in close late in the fourth quarter. The Falcons’ starting line up played the majority of the game because of a short bench because of injuries.
“It started in the first half when they went on that big run. Even though we chipped into that lead, they did some damage there,” said Falcons head coach Dwight Cameron. “Having a short bench really affects things, especially when two of our main players were unable to play, but that is no excuses there because Vanier played a good game, they executed well and they deserved to win.”
The Vikings got some of their injured players back in the lineup for this game and were able to utilize their bench throughout the game to keep their players fresh, but they knew the outcome could have been different if the Falcons had a healthy bench too.
“I have to look at it that we were lucky because they did not have a strong bench. We were just fortunate that we had a strong bench to last through the entire game,” said Vikings head coach David Tardif. “I believe that was the difference maker. I give credit to their guys that were on. They had a strong six and they played the entire game. I also able to play all my guys…I think that was the key thing.”
Both teams used a press zone on defence, but the Vikings were able to break the Falcons press most of the time without turning the ball over because of quick ball movement and the quick hands of their point guard.
“We were able to break their press because of Richard Diggins’ ball-handling…you can’t stop him, he just has terrific handlings,” said Tardif. “Just having him makes it that much easier.”
The Falcons had quite of bit of problems breaking the Vikings tight press. Vanier’s pressure on the ball handler created turnovers and easy baskets that they used to establish a comfortable lead.
“I don’t think it was an overly strong press, but we just literally gave them the ball,” said Cameron. “It was poor execution at times and Vanier capitalized on those mistakes.”
For more on this story, read an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.