Vikings drop bout with Jim Hill in JPS tournament

Published 11:48 pm Saturday, December 26, 2015

Despite a balanced scoring effort from Warren Central, it wasn’t enough to top Jim Hill and lost to the Tigers 68-65 in the opening round of the JPS holiday tournament.

“Offensively we played pretty good, but I’m telling the guys we’re only going to be good as our defense,” Vikings coach Bruce Robinson said. “We did a pretty good job from the foul line but we didn’t win the battle in the paint, that’s where we lost it.”

Chavis Smith led the Vikings in scoring with 28 points. Smith hit one field goal inside the arc as 21 of his points came from three-point range. Jalen Allen followed Smith’s efforts with 15 points and Shunterrance Walton rounded out double-digit scorers with 10.

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The Vikings took the lead with under three minutes left in the game with a chance at the win.

“At that point, as a coach I probably should’ve made a decision to hold the ball and play keep away and go to the line,” Robinson said. “We had a good free throw shooting game.”

All in all, the Vikings went 18-of-23 from the free-throw line.

Smith went 5-of-6 at free line and Allen was successful at the charity stripe making 8-of-10 of his attempts. Travonte Miller and Jaquan Woods were perfect in their combined five attempts.

“Jalen Allen did a good job of taking the ball to the basket, his free throw shooting kind of kept us in it,” Robinson said. “It was one or two times he took it to the basket and we turned it over. We got to take care of the ball a little bit better.”

Jim Hill also had a balanced scoring effort against the Vikings. John Knight III led the Tigers with 22 points and was 6-of-8 from the free throw line. Eric Vaughn added another 11, while Kendrick Graves, Jacquez Ollie and Ladarius Anderson each had six points.

Heading into halftime, the Tigers were up 33-26. Although Warren Central would outscore Jim Hill 39-35 in the second half, the Tigers 22-point second quarter and their ability to run the pick-and-roll was enough to secure the win.

“They made one late when it was at 65. They kicked the ball out and he knocked down a big three. I think Jim hill did a good job of playing to their strengths,” Robinson said. “They can drive and kick. A couple of times they got us with that pick and roll and when we did defend the pick and roll well the kicked it to the corner and scored.

The Vikings are still trying to find an identity with the youth on the team. Aside from late-game comebacks at home early in the season, this is the second game in December the Vikings have lost a game by three points and their fourth loss of the month.

“We’re playing with juniors and sophomores with big minutes and at some point you have to grow up and win close ball games,” Robinson said. “I tell the kids all the time at some point in the season you become who you are. You’re either going to be a team that wins close ball games or a team that loses close ball games. You just have to be committed to this sport.”


[G] Jim Hill 59, WC 37

Dominique Caldwell scored 15 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and came away with three steals. Deja McGloster added another eight points and T’Onna Sims put up six.

The Lady Vikes committed 24 turnovers in the loss.

“We played flat and had too many turnovers,” Lady Vikes coach Jackie-Martin Glass said. “They out hustled us and took advantages of our turnovers. My Players are still learning their roles. We played like a young team.”