The Vanier Vikings chose the wrong game to go cold offensively. The Peacock Toilers started their semifinal senior boys basketball match up on a 15-0 run and held on for the 68-50 victory over Vanier.
“They came out very strong and we were too late to recover. Give credit to them,” said Vanier’s coach David Tardif. “We normally would come out strong and keep with them, but this time around, we didn’t.”
The Vikings didn’t score their first point until 4:20 of the first quarter and then only scored five points in the second quarter. The Toilers used the opening stretch to build momentum and continue the half strong.
“We came out and were ready to play tonight, which was nice to see,” said Peacock’s coach Bryan Adams. “We prepared hard and came out and did what they were supposed to do right off the bat. We were very pleased with that.”
The Toilers held a 29-point lead at the half. They were able to continue some of the momentum into the third, but the Vikings kept working in the fourth quarter to close the gap.
“It is tough when you got a 29-point lead at half-time, especially with high school kids,” explained Adams. “There wasn’t anything that changed until midway through the fourth quarter, when we lost our intensity and rhythm we had.”
The Toilers used their speed to control the game and that was something they built on over the weekend in North Battleford at a tournament.
“We haven’t done that well all year on getting out wide and running the lanes. We have been working on that and we are trying to push the ball,” explained Adams. “We have some really good athletes and I was feeling that we just weren’t using the athleticism very well. We looked a little more athletic and got out on the break and got some easy buckets.”
For the Vikings, the fight back in the second half was encouraging for Tardif, but he is expecting more from his team this Saturday (2:30 p.m., Peacock) when these two teams face off in the 4A Conference game.
“The second half was just being more aggressive, attacking the basket, passing the ball more – which we weren’t doing in the first half and playing strong on defence. We came out positive and ready to play, but they just took us by surprise,” said Tardif. “This is not the tone I wanted to set for conference, by no means. I wanted to set the tone by winning this game. We have full intentions of winning that game and we totally believe we can.”
Although the Toilers are excited about making it to the league final next week against Central, they are still very much focused on the conference game on Saturday against the Vikings.
“They are going to come out and give us our best on Saturday and they are going to play very hard. We expect them do come out hard,” said Adams. ”We are going to come out here hard and see what happens.”
After the weekend, the Toilers will shift their focus to their final league match up with the undefeated Cyclones.
“They’ve had a great year and we’ve had some good games against them,” said Adams. “We will see if we’ve taken some steps and if we’ve matured this season. It is a long time coming and it will be a great test.”