By Brad Fuqua
WGCN sports editor
Williams was either going to win it or lose it at the free-throw line Friday night in a Senior Night game against visiting Mogollon.
The Vikings did not score a basket in the final three minutes of the game against the Mustangs. But in that time, the team made 12-of-20 free throws to come out on top, 50-43.
"In the second half, we did a much better job of working the ball to the inside, getting some fouls and getting to the free-throw line," Williams coach Dave Green said. "Our shot selection was better and the defensive pressure was much better."
The Vikings couldn't manage much offense in the first half. The team didn't score its first points until the 3:13 mark of the first quarter on a shot by Curtis Bardsley. The team added hoops by Gil Pacheco to trail only 10-6 heading into the second.
Neither team could do much on offense, so the score stayed close. Mogollon held a 21-14 lead at halftime. All 14 of the Vikings' first-half points were scored by either Bardsley or Pacheco.
In the third quarter, Williams got some other players involved in the offense and Richard Toth hit some key baskets. Toth scored eight straight points for Williams, including back-to-back three-pointers.
By the end of the quarter, the Mogollon lead was only two points.
In the fourth, Mogollon saw increased Williams intensity. Free throws by Steffen Eikenberry and Bardsley along with a reverse layup by Pacheco gave the Vikes a 36-34 lead.
After Mogollon regained a one-point lead, the Vikings got a basket from Eikenberry with three minutes left and then began the long string of free throws with two by Bardsley.
Mogollon pulled to within 43-41 with 48 seconds left, but Williams helped out by missing four straight free throws.
The Vikings made 8-of-10 free throws, however, in the final 44 seconds. Bardsley was the hottest, making 8-of-8 on the night.
Mogollon hit a shot at the buzzer to account for the final margin of seven points.
Bardsley hit for 20 points in the game while Pacheco scored 12. Toth finished with eight.
Earlier in the week, Williams stunned Orme, 80-77, in overtime. The first-place Warriors unbeaten in the conference at the time.
The Vikings got off to a big start early with 25 points in the first quarter. Toth hit for a trio of three-pointers in the first.
Bardsley was also hot and finished the game with 25 points. Toth ended up with 13 and Vishal Patel added 10.
"We just came out and moved the ball until we had an open shot," Green said.
As a team, Williams shot an amazing 69 percent in the first half.
"We shot the lights, out," Green said. "Curtis was hitting inside and outside. They got hot in the second half."
Orme rallied in the fourth quarter to tie the and send it into overtime. In the extra period, Williams hit a couple of quick three-pointers and controlled the pace.
"I think we were so hot, they were shocked," Green said. "Both teams played well. It was a physical game."
Orme had a chance in OT to tie the game, but the Warriors missed, the Vikings grabbed the rebound and the win followed.
Williams took a 3-4 region and 6-11 overall record into Tuesday's game at St. Johns. The game was played after deadline.
A win and favorable coin toss could mean a home game for the Vikes Saturday. Call the school for information on the next game.