Boys basketball edges out Wootton 55–54 in thriller

By Alex Weinstein

The boys basketball team (10–4) defeated the Wootton Patriots (3–10) 45–44 on Wednesday for their second victory over Wootton in the past week. Senior guard Michael Ward hit the go-ahead shot with nine seconds left to seal the win for the home team.  

Last week’s contest was quite lopsided — the Vikes rolled over the Patriots 72–47. However, the Patriots seemed to have learned from last Thursday’s game. On Wednesday, the game was much closer. Wootton got out to a hot start, with the Vikes lagging behind in the first quarter. 

According to junior power forward Landon Mulford, this was mainly due to early game struggles. 

“In the first half, we had a hard time on both sides of the ball,” he said. “We were able to pick up our defense in the second half, but our offense still wasn’t quite there.” 

The Vikes picked it up in the second half, going back and forth with Wootton for essentially the entire third and fourth quarters. With under 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Ward was able to weasel his way into the paint and convert a contested floater with nine seconds left to give the Vikes their first lead since the first quarter. The Patriots got a few good looks of their own in the final few seconds, but none of their attempts dropped, and the Vikes picked up their tenth victory of the season in thrilling fashion. 

Despite the team collectively having an off-day on offense, Ward was efficiently hitting his shots. He scored 21 points, shot 50% from the field and drained the aforementioned game-winner with nine seconds left. He also grabbed nine rebounds, nearly notching a double-double. 

The Vikes will travel to Blake to take on the Bengals at 6 p.m tonight. Fans will be allowed at 25% capacity. The game will also be streamed live on NFHS network.