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Tue, June 02

Vikings take title at regional tournament

Zain Grantham works the ball down court during an earlier season game. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

Zain Grantham works the ball down court during an earlier season game. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — The Williams Vikings boys basketball team (16-13, 10-3) powered through two tough games to claim the title at the 1A Central Region tournament Feb. 6-7. With the win, the team advances to the first round of the 1A state tournament Feb. 15.

The Vikings, who are playing at peak performance according to Head Coach Troy Mortensen, grabbed an easy 61-33 win over Mayer Feb. 5 to advance in the tournament.

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Caleb Betz drives the ball to the hoop during a game with Mayer in the first round of the 1A Central Region tournament Feb. 5. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

The team them faced Mogollon (14-10, 8-3) Feb. 6, playing a tight game where the Vikings came out on top with a 65-62 win.

“The kids played good, they stuck with each other and didn’t give up,” said Vikings Head Coach Troy Mortensen.

The win propelled the Vikings into the championship game with Joseph City (21-8, 9-3) Feb. 7. The Vikings trailed in the first quarter, 15-12, and then matched the Wildcats with 19 points scored in the second to go into half-time trailing 34-31.

A powerful third quarter saw the Vikings outscore the Wildcats 20-11 to bring the score to 51-45. They finished the game outscoring the Wildcats again 12-10 in the final quarter to get the win 63-55.

“We were down 11-2 in the first quarter and then just battled back,” Mortensen said.

Mortensen said the win was a team effort.

“Everyone stepped up, everyone did their job,” Mortensen said. “It’s the kind of win that a coach likes.”

Mortensen said having Ceasar Santana and John Bryant back from injuries also helped the team.

“We had answers for their big guy,” Mortensen said. “And our tight defense put a stop to two of their top scorers this time.”

The Vikings, who had been hovering around 16th place in the rankings, could play either Ft. Thomas or Rock Point depending on results from final season games.

Lady Vikings vs. Mogollon

The Lady Vikings (20-8, 7-3), who have had a stellar season, rolled past Grand Canyon 66-52 at the regional tournament to face Mogollon in the title game.

The girls struggled against sharp shooters Jilliana Maner and Hannah Ballesteros, eventually falling to the Mustangs 55-44.

Despite the loss, the Vikings, who are ranked eighth will play at home Friday, Feb. 14 in the first round of the state tournament. The time is TBA.

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