James Valley Christian’s Nathan Wedel attacks the rim during the first half of Thursday’s showdown between the Vikings and the White River Tigers. Wedel scored a team-high 18 points in the loss. PHOTO COURTESY OF WADE LAROCHE/THE CAPITAL JOURNAL
Fans at Parkview Gymnasium in Fort Pierre were in for a treat Thursday as the showdown between Class B’s top-two teams lived up to the hype.
The No.1 White River Tigers (15-1) edged the No.2 James Valley Christian Vikings (17-1) 77-74 in Fort Pierre, making the showdown worth the wait. The two teams were originally scheduled to play Saturday at the DWU Classic in Mitchell before Mother Nature thwarted those plans.
With the contest tight until the final seconds, it was only fitting that Wyatt Krogman stole the show in the game-deciding fourth quarter.
White River led by three going into the game’s final quarter and the Tigers’ star simply wouldn’t let them lose. The point guard scored 11 of his 25 points in the final quarter.
Krogrman began his fourth-quarter rampage moments after Nathan Wedel evened the score with a basket for the Vikings.
Krogman attacked the basket and sank two shots at the free-throw line to break the tie but Wedel had an answer when he hit a 3-pointer to sway the lead with just 2:30 remaining in the contest.
Krogman gave the Tigers the lead back when he bookended a three by Leon Brondsema with two old-fashioned three-point plays to give White River a one-point lead with just two minutes left.
“Wyatt just loves to play and we are just fortunate to have him on our team as our point guard,” White River coach Eldon Marshall said. “He’s one of, if not the best point guards in the state. Whenever we need something done, Wyatt does it. We needed him down the stretch and he didn’t disappoint.”
The Vikings didn’t go away after Krogman’s surge though as Adam Hofer gave the Vikings a one-point lead with 41 seconds remaining in the contest.
The game had its final of many lead changes on the next possession as Joe Cameron was fouled while attempting a three and made all three from the charity stripe.
The Vikings final possession ended in a travel and the Tigers came away with a big win against the team they will likely see again in the championship game of the Class B State Tournament.
For both teams, it was good to get a nail-biter in, considering neither team had been tested much to this point.
“It’s very good for us to be in a close game. That’s why we wanted to play James Valley Christian. It wasn’t just a challenge; we could have easily lost that one. It would have been good for us either way but it was good that we got the win. We had some other guys step up and it was a great all-around effort,” Marshall said.
Cameron’s closing the game for the Tigers was fitting because the senior forward lit it up for the Tigers throughout the contest. Cameron scored a game-high 34 points in the contest, including six makes from beyond the arc.
“(Cameron) did a great job for us. He’s capable of doing that every night and he’s done it before. He stepped up when we needed him. We had a couple of players who didn’t have their usual scoring games, so we needed Joe to come through and he did,” Marshall said.
Cameron’s three-point barrage began in the first half in which he scored 13 points in the first quarter and 20 in the first half.
The Vikings also featured plenty of offensive arsenal as Hofer scored 11 of his 17 points in the first half.
The first half ended with a 35-33 score in White River’s favor after Gilbert Morrison’s steal and score broke the tie in the closing seconds of the half. Morrison scored 10 points in the contest.
Neither team took long to warm up as James Valley Christian led 21-20 after a see-saw first quarter.
The battle between the top two teams certainly lived up to the hype and both teams showed why it’s a safe bet to assume they will meet again.
“James Valley is a very good basketball team and that’s why we wanted to play them, they’ll make us better. We both came out and saw where we’re at. These were probably the two best teams and Class B playing (Thursday),” Marshall said.
Wedel led the Vikings with 18 points.
Note: James Valley Christian defeated Wessington Springs 83-43 on Friday night, but results from the 281 Conference matchup were not available.
The Vikings will travel to play Wolsey-Wessington on Monday.
For the complete article see the 02-17-2013 issue.
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