Vikings tame Tigers, will host sectional game
by Barry DeLoach
It had been four years since the Vikings were able to hoist the Region 7A plaque as the Humboldt Vikings destroyed the Halls Tigers 89-45. Humboldt beat Halls by 17 and 25 points in their regular season meetings but in tourney time, you can throw all that out the window.
Halls lost to Union City three times including a 27-point loss in the District 14A tournament at UTM. In the semifinals, the Tigers knocked off Union City to set up a Humboldt-Halls finale. The Vikes jumped out to a 9-2 lead, led by 19 points at halftime, led by 36 after three quarters, and rolled to an impressive 89-45 win over the Tigers to claim the Region 7A title.
Jarred Walker drove the lane, scored and got fouled on Humboldt’s initial possession of the game to make it 3-0. Halls scored to get within one point and that would be as close as they would be the rest of the game. Senior Kortland Martin went scoreless in the Trenton game but was on fire against Halls and scored the next three buckets for the Vikings. A smothering Viking defense led to steal after steal and easy scores for Humboldt as a Walker steal made it 11-4. Humboldt finished the game with 26 steals. With 3:12 left in the period, the Tigers had weathered the early storm and pulled to within 13-10. Moments later, Martin hit a floater in the paint and then a trey for his 11th point of the quarter. Anthony Jones came up with a steal and a slam dunk that erupted the crowd. The Vikings were up 20-10. A late score from Justin Pankey led to a 22-14 lead for the Vikings.
In the second period, the Humboldt trap defense continued to bother Halls and the Vikings turned steals into easy buckets. The Vikes unselfishly pass the ball, dove after balls going into the stands, and going after loose balls on the floor as if their life depended on it. The Vikings played a near perfect first half against the Tigers as the eight-point lead after one period turned into a 41-22 lead at the halftime horn.
The game was all but over at halftime with a 19-point advantage because the Vikings had mentally beaten the Tigers as well. With the game appearing to be virtually in hand, the Vikings did not let up. Humboldt showed their hunger for the win and put the game totally out of reach to begin the third period. The Vikes got yet another steal and Martin drained a three. Moments later, Carlton Childs hit a bomb, stole the inbound pass, hit the layup and got fouled; all part of a 9-0 run to start the half. The run continued as Anthony Jones hit one of two free throws, Childs had a steal and a layup. R.J. Abernathy hit a short jump shot. Jones scored in the paint on a nifty little pass to make it a combined 16-0 run and the score was 57-23 in favor of the Vikes. This was a great place to be complacent and just ride the win off into the sunset but not this team. The Vikings continued to play tough team defense. Humboldt continued to hustle after loose balls despite the 34-point lead. The Vikings put the accelerator on the floor and stomped it as they led 69-33 headed to the final eight minutes.
In the fourth period, Josh Glenn scored two quick buckets and Childs got the Vikings 25th steal of the game and laid it in for two more points as the Vikings led by 42 points. Coach Ron Abernathy slowly removed the starters to several ovations by the crowd. Even with the subs in the game, the Vikes closed out the game with a 6-2 run as Tre’Keith Melton, Trent Green and Jordan Patrick all got in the scoring fun for in the 89-45 Region 7A victory over Halls.
The Vikings were led by Martin with 19 points along with four others in double figures including Region 7A Tournament MVP, Justin Pankey, with 17 points followed by Walker with 12, Abernathy with 11, and Childs with 10 points. Childs, Martin and Walker also made the All-tournament team. Other scorers were Jones with seven, Green had six, Melton with four, Patrick with two, and Josh Glenn with one point in the impressive 44-point win over the Tigers.