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Tue, Oct. 22

Strong defense leads Williams Vikings to 59-54 victory against Camp Verde Cowboys

Williams Viking Reggie Reed drives to the basket during the junior varsity team’s season opener against Camp Verde at home on Nov. 25. Marissa Freireich/WGCN

Williams Viking Reggie Reed drives to the basket during the junior varsity team’s season opener against Camp Verde at home on Nov. 25. Marissa Freireich/WGCN

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - In their first home game of the season, the Williams High School Vikings boys basketball team employed defensive pressure to lead them to a 59-54 victory over the Camp Verde Cowboys.

Head coach Rico Dunn said his team's defense was key to their victory.

"Camp Verde struggled with the press at times and every time they made an adjustment, we countered with an answer," he said. "We finished with 11 steals as a team and countless more forced turnovers. The guys are really buying into the defense first mentality that I encourage."

Although the Vikings had a limited rotation that resulted in longer playing time for key players, the team was able to shut down Camp Verde's shooter Javier Perez and Bram Hickey.

"Hickey was a non-factor throughout most of the game," Dunn said. "We kept Perez from shooting the three ball and made him trade baskets with us."

Junior Andrew Karlsberger stepped up in the absence of Leo Lopez and led all scoring with 16 points. Christian Plascencia dominated the boards in route to a double-double on the night with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Freshman Martin Soria also got in the mix with three steals and 15 points. Austin Kennelly struggled shooting but made key contributions on the defensive end with five steals.

Freshmen Juaquin Gutierrez, Diego Pedraza, and Payce Mortensen contributed some solid time without making an impact on the stat sheet.

"I'm liking what I see from them and as their confidence grows, they should be able to make more of their time on the court," Dunn said.

As a team the Vikings shot 50 percent from the line, 53 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc.

"Obviously we have some work to get our shooters in rhythm," Dunn said.

Dunn said it was good to get the team's first game under their belt and evaluate what they need to do for the rest of the season.

"We have some areas we need to focus on in practice next week and we will work on figuring out how to use our rotations to best serve us going forward," he said. "It's a process not a product that we put out on the court every night, now we know where we need to go from here."

The Vikings hosted Chino Valley at home on Tuesday after the News went to print. "Hopefully we will have Leo Lopez back to gain some momentum going into the Holiday Tournament starting Thursday the fourth," Dunn said.

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