by Barry DeLoach
It had been nearly a week since the Humboldt Vikings were on the court in competition and the Vikes were a little rusty in the first period. Humboldt was the District 14A champ and came into the game heavily favored as the No. 1 seed. West Carroll was the fourth seed coming out of District 13A.
Seniors Kortland Martin and Jarred Walker got things rolling with a bucket each as Walker’s trey made it 5-2 nearly three minutes into the first period. Both teams showed signs of not playing for a week. The War Eagles hung early with the Vikings as they tied the game at 5-5. Sophomore Anthony Jones brought the crowd to their feet with a two-handed slam dunk on a nice assist from Martin. Another short jumper from Jones made it 9-5 with 3:21 on the clock. The Vikes tried to pull away but West Carroll continued to hang around. With 2:45 left, the Vikings were up 11-8. At the 2:06 mark, the Martin to Jones connection worked well again with another thunderous slam as Humboldt led by five. West Carroll shot the ball well in the first period and cut the lead down to13-12 with 25 seconds left in the quarter, much to the delight of the War Eagle fans. Devonte Bennett scored with two seconds left to make it 15-12 after one period of play.
The War Eagles were feeling pretty good after the first period as they were within three points of the top ranked team in the state in Class A. When the second period began, West Carroll found out why the Vikings are ranked No.1. Walker hit a shot. Bennett scored in the paint. Martin hit a runner in the paint and then a free throw. Walker hit another jumper at the 4:58 mark and the West Carroll coach called a timeout. The 9-0 run continued as Josh Glenn got in on the fun and scored at the 4:17 mark of the second period. The War Eagles finally scored in the second as they hit one of two from the line to make it 26-13 with 4:00 remaining on the clock. The Vikes found their shooting touch as R.J. Abernathy hit a 15-foot jumper followed by two free throws from Martin. Martin scored again at the 2:30 mark to make it 32-13. West Carroll scored their only bucket of the period on the next possession as the Vikings closed the half with an 8-0 run including bombs from Martin and Abernathy to make it 40-15 at the break. The three-point first quarter game turned into a blowout in the second period as the Vikings outscored West Carroll 25-3.
In the third period, the War Eagles hit a couple of threes to try and cut into the lead but two buckets from Jones, a bomb from Martin, and a stick back by senior Carlton Childs made it 49-21. With 4:26 left in the third quarter, Childs made a steal and fed Jones for two more points as the Humboldt lead went to 30 points. Coach Ron Abernathy called on his bench. Martin hit two late field goals for the Vikings before going to the bench as Humboldt led 57-26 headed to the fourth period.
In the final period, Abernathy and Walker each had a steal and hit layups before heading to the bench with the other starters. The Vikes had 12 steals in the game with Abernathy leading the team with three steals.
In the final quarter, Trent Green, Jordan Patrick and Tre ‘Keith Melton all had buckets as the Vikings cruised to an impressive opening round victory over West Carroll 71-39.
The Vikings spread the wealth around as 10 players got in on the scoring and had four players in double figures. Martin led the Vikes with 19 points followed by Jones and Abernathy with 12 points each, and Walker had 11 points. Bennett tossed in four points, Green had three points with two points each for Melton, Patrick and Glenn.
Humboldt beat West Carroll in every facet of the game as they out rebounded West Carroll 58-46. The Vikes had more assists, steals and blocked shots as well.
The Vikings were just 4-of-8 from the charity stripe as the game was very good officiated game. The teams combined for 17 total team fouls as neither team ever reached the double bonus.
With the win the Vikings are in the semifinals and played Trenton Peabody for the fourth time this season on Monday night.
With all four District 14A teams winning over District 13A, the remainder of the Region Tournament will be played here in Humboldt.