Story and Images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
January 8th, 2016 Victoria, BC (ISN) – It took extra time to do it but the Vike’s men’s basketball team (6-3) lead early on the play of 6’9” Washington State import Grant Sitton, and rallied in overtime to defeat the Manitoba Bison (6-3) 85-77 in front of a packed CARSA gymnasium of 1025 fans Friday night in game one action of the two-game, weekend series.
Vikes Jordan Charles of Duncan, BC carries the ball up court during game one action Friday against the Manitobe Bison – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Vikes, looking to add to their winning streak after a New Years Eve win over UBC Okanagan, came into Friday’s game with a 1-3 record in their last four games and looking to climb into 3rd place over the Bisons in the Pioneer Division of the Canada West Conference.
Vikes Justin Kinnear finds a lane to drop the ball in for two of his four points – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Fourth year Vike Grant Sitton would post a double-double with 28 pts and eleven rebounds to lead all scorers in the game, shooting the lights out with 50% from the field in an impressive first quarter shooting display to set the Bison back on their hoofs. Mack Roth (20 pts.), Reiner Theil (11pts), and Brandon Dunlop ( 11pts ) would add to the Vikes totals for their first win of 2016 .
Vikes Grant Sitton shoots the jumper for two of his 28 pts in the game. the 6’9″ Sitton would score 14 of his points in the first quarter alone – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Manitoba’s Brett Jewell and AJ Basi lead the Bison scoring with 17 points, while Justus Alleyn and Ilarion Bonhomme would add 14 and 10 points respectively.
From the opening tip-off, the Vikes would set the tempo, quickly jumping out to a seventeen point lead on a strong defensive effort in the paint, and the scoring touch of the Vikes forward Sitton. Sitton, finding his touch from all areas of the floor, hit his first 4 of 6 shot attempts to pace the Vikes with a 14-point, first quarter performance. The Vikes would enjoy a 25-10 lead at the end of the first period.
Mack Roth has a clear look at the basket over Brett Jewell – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Although never able to gain the lead, a gritty Bison team would chip away at the Vikes lead the rest of the game, outscoring the home squad 65-50 in the final 3 quarters. AJ Basi would spark the Bisons comeback in the second quarter of play with back-to-back baskets from beyond the arc to swing momentum the Bison’s way. The Bison would trim the Vikes lead to seven points 41-34 at halftime.
The Vikes look to regroup as the Bison would come back to erase what was a 17 pt lead in the first period for the Vikes – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Bison’s would flirt with taking lead on, cutting the score to a two-point margin on several occasions in the fourth quarter. The Vike’s Sitton would help push back the surging Bisons with a five point play to reopen a nine point lead with five minutes remaining. A determined Manitoba team would continue to grind down the Vikes, eventually pulling even when the Bison’s Keith Omoerah would tie the game 75-75 with 8.5 seconds remaining, left unattended on his way to the net for the driving layup.
Bison’s Keith Omoerah would score here to tie the game and push them into OT with 8.5 seconds remaining – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Vikes would rally in the extra frame, appearing to have the extra step on the Bison squad. The Bison’s Ilarion Bonhomme left the game in late in the fourth quarter with an apparent ankle injury. The Bisons, perhaps little left in the tank after defending a quicker Vikes team for four quarters of play, would commit 4 turnovers, and shoot a dismal 1-8 from the field in OT.
Brandon Dunlop, the Vikes floor general, would press the Bison defense with his quick-paced ball movement, helping teammate Mack Roth find the space needed to put in his four point contribution to the OT win as the Vikes would outscore the Bison 10-2 to take the 85-77 win and improve to 7-3 on the season.
Gaurd Brandon Dunlop slips past the Bison’s defense to get the ball on net. Dunlop would finish with eleven points in the game – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Post game, Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp was reported as commenting on his teams overall performance, “We got off to a good start and (Manitoba) grinded back throughout the game. “What I was most proud of was that we didn’t lose focus when (Manitoba) fought back to force overtime. We took charge early in the extra frame and I’m proud of the way our team responded.
We have a lot of respect for (Manitoba). We knew coming into this game that getting a win against them would be a tough task.”
The Vikes and Bisons will play a game two rematch Saturday night on Ken and Kathy Shields Court at CARSA. Game time 7 pm.