Basketball battle

The temperature in Redmond at tipoff for last Tuesday night’s 4A Kingco matchup between the visiting Inglemoor High Vikings and the Redmond High Mustangs was a bone-chilling 23 degrees.

Vikings conquer Mustangs

The temperature in Redmond at tipoff for last Tuesday night’s 4A Kingco matchup between the visiting Inglemoor High Vikings and the Redmond High Mustangs was a bone-chilling 23 degrees.

Unfortunately for the home squad, the Mustangs’ ability to shoot the basketball went into a deep freeze as they fell to the Vikings, 56-38.

The story of the game was the third quarter, when the Vikings broke away, hitting their last five shots of the period to put the game out of reach, 36-22, going into the fourth quarter.

Second-quarter struggle

After a barn-burning, back-and-forth first quarter, the Vikings held a slim 19-15 lead over the Mustangs.

Then someone must have left the doors open, letting the sub-freezing cold air into Reiger Gymnasium.

Starting in the second quarter, both teams had unbelievable dry spells during which the hoops seemed to be freshly waxed and the diameter of a teacup.

The Mustangs (1-2) and Vikings (3-1) combined to shoot an unthinkable 1-for-16 from the field, but Redmond’s struggles to get the ball to drop lasted about eight minutes longer than Inglemoor’s.

“We gotta just … there’s frustration,” said a bewildered Jeff Larson, Redmond’s head coach, after the game. “There’s frustration with shots not falling, feeling like you have to play catch up.”

The Mustangs’ anxiety came to a head during the second quarter, as they shot 0-for-7 and scored just three points, all on free throws.

Fortunately for them, Inglemoor struggled even more, going 1-for-9, the teams combining to set a dubious 4A Kingco record for fewest points scored in one quarter of a basketball game with just five total.

“We had some tough shots early on in the second quarter,” said Inglemoor head coach Greg Lowell. I told the kids … You’re gonna have nights where you’re not going to score. That’s going to happen, it’s part of the game — but if you can stay consistent defensively, that’s going to keep you in.”

The Vikings’ stingy defense continued into the third quarter, as the Mustangs weren’t able to penetrate or get good looks at the basket. Redmond was held without a field goal for the first seven minutes and 10 seconds of the second half until 6-foot-4 senior forward Dominique Redeau drove to the hoop for a layup, causing a cheer to erupt from the stands.

Meanwhile, the Vikings caught fire at the end of the third period, breaking an 0-11 shooting slump with 3:34 left in the quarter on an aggressive lay-in by guard Benji Bryant. Inglemoor went on to make its next four shots, including a buzzer-beater 3-pointer by Bryant to give the Viks a 36-22 lead.

“I don’t know, I’ve never shot that bad, I know no one on our team has ever shot like that,” said Bryant on his team’s early shooting woes. “In the second half, we just wanted to get to the basket, start driving it a little more.”

What sealed the Mustangs’ fate was that they got into deep foul trouble early in the second half, already over the team limit before the fourth quarter began.

As a result, the Vikings only made one field goal in the fourth quarter, a fast-break dunk by 6-8 center Paul Jorg, while shooting a fabulous 18-for-24 from the line.

“We got to the line a lot in the second half, and that’s what we really wanted to do because nobody could shoot the ball,” Bryant said.

The Mustangs finally righted the ship in the fourth quarter, led by Redeau, who went 3-for-3, and early in the period senior guard Chris Harrington buried a 3-pointer, the team’s first of the game.

But by that time, The Vikings had broken out of their scoring slump and held an insurmountable lead as the clock wound down.

“We just pulled it together coming down the stretch and hit our free throws and everything,” added 6-4 senior forward Adam McElwee. “It was a good win.”

Viking accolades

Although the game was one to forget offensively, Inglemoor’s players knew not to take the Mustangs for granted with all the weapons in their arsenal.

“We knew all their players could shoot. (Redmond) doesn’t have one go-to guy, everyone kind of did everything,” said Bryant, who scored 16 in the game. “We wanted to hustle back on defense, and from there just run our stuff. We knew if we just played our game, we would beat ‘em.”

McElwee led all scorers with 17 on 5-for-7 shooting and draining six of his seven free throws, followed by Bryant’s 16 and 6-6 forward Todd Campbell, who put in eight for the Viks.

Redeau led the Mustangs in scoring with 15, including making five of Redmond’s seven field goals in the second half.

“I was pleased with the rebounding tonight — we went to the boards hard,” said Lowell, whose team collected 26 rebounds, led by Campbell’s eight. “I think our game plan was just to play one possession at a time, but we wanted defensively to make them take some tough shots, and we did a good job with that.”