CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Talented players and outstanding teams make for some great basketball. Friday night at South Range, the state ranked Labrae Vikings survived a ferocious comeback by the South Range Raiders to hold on for a hard-fought 52-48 overtime victory.
The win improves the Vikings to 10-0 on the season, while the Raiders drop to 12-1.
“It was two great defensive efforts tonight,” Kiser commented on the game. “South Range they play defense. There is a reason why they hold people under 50 all the time. These are the kind of games you want to play to see where you are at. You want to be able to play good teams and get you ready.”
“Coach works defense tremendously,” Vikings forward Tyler Stephens remarked about the Vikings defensive play. “Defense wins games and that’s what we did. It how we won, with defense.”
The Vikings Logan Kiser drove inside twice to score 5 of his team’s 11 points in the extra frame. His first basket and free throw with 2:13 remaining gave the Vikings a 47-43 advantage. He would score again in the final moments to put the Vikings back up by four at 49-45. Benton Tennant would add two free throws with just 2-seconds left to seal the game.
“Logan did a nice job stepping up tonight,” Vikings head coach Chad Kiser remarked. “He was sick in school today with the flu. He had two IV bags after school to keep him hydrated.”
Part of the reason the Vikings were able to drive inside was that the Raiders big man inside Brady White fouled out in the final moments of regulation. White would pick up his fifth foul with just 1-second left in the fourth period.
“It definitely hurt,” Raiders head coach John Cullen remarked. “You can’t make that foul. He does an awful lot for us.”
Photo gallery: LaBrae tops South Range
Photo gallery: LaBrae tops South Range x
The Raiders fought back after trailing by 17-points midway through the third quarter when the Vikings Aaron Iler connected on a three-point shot with 3:03 left in the stanza. But at the point, the Raiders seemed to come alive.
The Raiders Mike Cunningham would knock down a three followed by another trey by Brandon Youngs with just 2-second left in the period. At that point, the Raiders had cut the deficit down to 13 at 36-23.
The Raiders would go on a 15-3 run to start the fourth frame as Cunningham would score 7 of the Raiders 15 points during that run. When he connected on a jumper with 2:11 remaining in the game, the Raiders took the lead for the first time since the opening moments of the contest at 40-39. The two teams would be tied at 41 at the end of regulation.
“The crowd kind of got into it and we started losing out head a little bit. Coach told us just to relax. We relaxed and we gained our composure and we got back into the game,” Stephens explained.
The Vikings grabbed control of the game early as they used a suffocating full court press to cause the Raiders into turnovers and missed shots. But foul trouble forced them to go into a zone defense as the stanza wore on. Never the less, they held a commanding 19-7 lead after one frame.
Both teams played solid defense in the second quarter as neither offense could get any traction. As a result, the Vikings only held a 10-point, 27-17 advantage at the intermission.
“They had us on our heels and we were fouling them. We didn’t make free throws in the first half or it would have been a lot closer,” Cullen explained. “You can’t do that against a team like that.”
Kiser would lead the Vikings on the night with 19 points, while Aaron Iler had 12 and Tyler Stephen knocked down 11. Stephen would haul down 7 rebounds to pace the Vikings while Iler grabbed 6.
The Raiders were led by Cunningham with 17 points on the night while Jaxon Anderson would tally 10. Cunningham and Anderson would each grab 5 rebounds to pace the Raiders.
“It was a great measuring stick,” Cullen added. “It’s what you do when your down which determines what you’re going to be able to do for the rest of your life. No matter if it’s in basketball or anything else. And our kids showed what was under the sternum.”
The Raiders return to action Tuesday on the road at Valley Christian, while LaBrae will host Brookfield on Friday January 26.