Late rally lifts Vanden boys to win in playoff opener

By From page B1 | February 27, 2014

FAIRFIELD — The Vanden High boys basketball team is lucky there are four quarters.

The Vikings used a 15-0 run midway through fourth quarter to rally past Patterson 66-58 to win their opening round game in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs at Jim Boyd Gym, Friday.

The win allows the No. 2-seeded Vikings (18-10) to host No. 7 Casa Roble in the second round, Friday. Casa Roble slipped by No. 10 Foothill 54-51.

Vanden coach Micheal Holloway attributed the Vikings’ slow start to too much time off.

“We were just over anxious,” Holloway said. “Having a week off (since the last game), you only can practice so much after playing 27 games. The kids were just over anxious. They came out and Patterson was ready to play and they hopped on us early.”

The Tigers led 46-43 after three quarters, and upped their lead to 48-43 on a put-back by Kevin Phelps. DeMarre Walker stopped the bleeding momentarily with a basket inside, but Patterson scored again to make the score 50-45 with 6 minutes, 39 seconds to play.

Then it was all Vikings.

Jihad Woods started the 15-0 run with a bucket inside, and Walker got the Vikings within 50-49 with a put-back.

Thomas Avent kept the surge going with a 3-pointer to give the Vikings the lead for good at 52-50. But Vanden wasn’t done as Walker hit his own 3-pointer, Avent added a three-point play and Jansen Smith capped the scoring run with a put-back of his own to give the Vikings a 60-50 lead with 2:15 to play.

A 3-pointer by the Tigers’ Jordan Levu  made it 60-53 with 1:30 left, but Woods and Walker sealed the game, Woods scoring on a put-back and Walker putting the nail in the coffin with another 3-pointer with 45 seconds left, giving the Vikings an insurmountable 65-53 lead.

A couple of late baskets by Patterson made the score closer than it really was near the end.

Holloway said he wasn’t too concerned heading into the final period, knowing his team wasn’t about to give up.

“They don’t want to lose,” the coach said. “We haven’t lost at home all this year. Those kids have shown to be resilient all year and they just don’t want to lose. They aren’t ready to go home yet.”

Another reason Vanden was successful down the stretch was its rebounding by Woods and Smith. Woods wound up with 13 boards and Smith collected 12.

“They were huge on the glass,” Holloway said. “We were getting beat (sometimes), though. Jordan Levu, he had 12 offensive rebounds (against us) last year. We knew he was real strong on the glass. They attacked the glass early and they chopped us down from being 6-7 and 6-8 down to their size. Then (Woods and Jansen) finally woke up and took control in the second half.”

Avent led the Vikings with 22 points and five rebounds, while Walker finished with 20 points. Woods added 10 points to go with his 13 boards.

Levu led the Tigers with 16 points, while Michael Smith and Justin Rodriguez chipped in 13 apiece.

Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.

Brian Arnold

Brian Arnold

1992 graduate of San Francisco State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism.

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