FAIRFIELD — The phrase “déjà vu” is French for “already seen.”
Many could forgive Vanden High boys basketball fans for thinking that after Friday’s 62-57 victory against Casa Roble in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III quarterfinals at Jim Boyd Gym.
The flow and tempo mirrored Wednesday’s come-from-behind defeat of visiting Patterson, although Friday night’s victory over No. 7 Casa Roble sent the No. 2 Vikings (19-10) to their first SJS semifinals matchup since 2001.
The win pits them against crosstown rival Fairfield, marking the first time two city teams will meet in the postseason. No. 3 Fairfield was a 61-58 winner over No. 11 Central Valley.
The Vikings catapulted to the win behind a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter, echoing Wednesday’s 15-0 stretch midway through the same period.
Vanden coach Micheal Holloway said that’s different from the team’s pattern throughout the year.
“We usually get up early and, late, we hold on,” Holloway said. “The fourth quarter has been our nemesis.”
Crucial to the Vikings’ fourth-quarter rally was DeMarre Walker, who scored 12 of his game-leading 24 points in the fourth quarter.
Holloway said that while Walker came through in the clutch, that’s nothing new.
“He’s been big all the time for us,” Holloway said.
The Vikings took a lead they never relinquished halfway through the final quarter after Tony Terry III was able to grab the board and stick the follow-up shot after Jihad Woods came up short on a rush to the basket, taking a 51-50 edge.
Despite the final tally, Vanden spent most of the game playing catch up. After an early 3-0 lead, Casa Roble snapped off 12 unanswered points to hold a lead it wouldn’t give up until the third quarter.
Holloway suspected the Vikings were working through early jitters against both Casa Roble and Patterson.
“I think they came out nervous,” Holloway said.
The lead changed hands with 5 minutes, 50 seconds remaining in the third, when Woods nailed a finger roll under the basket to take a 30-29 lead. The two teams traded baskets – and the lead – for the next two minutes.
The visiting Rams looked to scoot away as the third closed and the fourth began, going on an 11-3 sprint which saw Jess Baucum pick up 6 of his 14 points on layups, but then the Vikings fired back with a rally to take the advantage.
Walker led all scorers with 24. Thomas Avent was the only other Vikings player in double figures with 12.
Mason Stuteville, the Rams’ 6-foot-9 forward, led his team with 16 points, while Baucum had 14 and Nate Larsh had 10.
The victory also left the Vikings with an undefeated record at home on the 2013-14 season.
“It means a lot,” Holloway said. “For all the fans who come out and all the parents who come out to every game, they’ve been able to give us whatever we need. To give them this reward is really big.”