Boys basketball hangs on to defeat Churchill 56–55

By Matt Mande

The boys basketball team (8–7) outlasted the Churchill Bulldogs (9–4) 56–55 Friday night.

The Vikes defense started off slow, allowing open shots for the Bulldogs. The team’s offense struggled, scoring only six points off two threes throughout the quarter, and the Bulldogs led 11–6 by the end of the quarter.

The Vikes began to hit more shots in the second quarter, with guards Jaden Pierce and Justin Niles hitting threes to help the Vikes get in front. The team’s defense also improved, limiting the Bulldogs to only seven points in the quarter. Going into halftime, the Vikes held a 29–18 lead.

The team maintained momentum in the third quarter, with center Michael Bass getting a dunk early on and Pierce continuing to score perimeter shots. The team was able to extend their lead by two going into the fourth quarter, leading 43–30.

In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs managed to get back into the game with accurate perimeter shooting. With one minute remaining, the Bulldogs hit a three to take a  55–51 lead, but Pierce responded with a three of his own to cut the Vikes deficit to one point. With 20 seconds remaining in the game, forward Mark Dimitrov forced a steal and made a layup to give the Vikes a 56–55 lead. In the final two seconds of the game, the refs called a foul on the Vikes, allowing the Bulldogs to have a chance to win the game with two free throws. However, the Bulldogs missed both shots and the Vikes clutched a one-point victory.

“It felt awesome to hit that layup and beat Churchill, especially knowing they’re the one seed,” Dimitrov said. “It shows us how good we can be when we work as a team.”

Dimitrov played solid defense, forcing multiple turnovers by the Bulldogs on the perimeter. Pierce led the Vikes offensively, scoring 17 points while also creating chances with accurate passing.

The team next faces the B–CC Barons (6–6) Tuesday at 7:15 pm at B–CC high school.