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Dragons Avenge Loss To Vikings

Posted 1/11/2018

By Jared JanzenSENIOR Baylor Bohling takes the ball to the basket Friday night against Smoky Valley. Bohling added 12 points to Halstead’s 57-34 win. SENIOR Baylor Bohling takes the ball to the basket Friday night against Smoky Valley. Bohling added 12 points to Halstead’s 57-34 win.

HALSTEAD—The Halstead Dragons got vengeance on the Smoky Valley Vikings Friday night when the two teams met for the second time of the season, this time routing them 57-34.

The Vikings are responsible for Halstead’s only loss so far this season. When the two teams first met Dec. 15, Halstead led for most of the game until the Vikings made a fourth-quarter comeback to win by one point, 49-48.

Friday night, the two teams battled back and forth for dominance in the first quarter, with senior Baylor Bohling and juniors Andrew O’Brien and Braden Gerber each scoring 3’s to help the Dragons get a 13-10 lead.

The Vikings took a brief one-point lead early in the second quarter, but a three-pointer by senior Kason O’Neal put the Dragons back on top, and from there they never looked back. The Vikings stayed within two or four points for most of that quarter and were up five at halftime, 27-22.

“Holding a team like that to 22 points in the first half—that’s solid,” head coach Lonnie Lollar said. “We didn’t have a bad first half, but we offensively we got in a little bit of a hurry….We had some transition turnovers that maybe kept us from having some more opportunities.”

The Dragons only allowed the Vikings two points in the third quarter. Within the first two minutes of that period, Bohling, O’Neal, Gerber and O’Brien all scored for the Dragons, quickly increasing the lead from five points to 14.

“That first three minutes of the first quarter, we say we’ve got to blitzkrieg; we’ve got to dominate and take over the game the first three minutes of the third quarter, and that might have been the best three minutes we’ve played all year,” Lollar said.

Gerber scored another seven points in the fourth quarter and O’Brien made two shots to help the Dragons total 19 points that quarter. Halstead got the win, 57-34.

The Dragons’ held Smoky Valley’s Nick Reinert to just four points on Friday night. The first time the two teams faced, Reinert scored 24.

“(Reinert) is arguably the best guard in the league,” Lollar said. “He had a bad night—all players do, but I think our guys deserve some credit on limiting him to four points.”

Three Dragons posted double digits against Smoky Valley: Gerber had 18; O’Brien had 13 and Bohling had 12.

Lollar said Gerber played a really solid game against Smoky Valley and that it was his best decision-making game so far this season.

“He competed well defensively, and he did good job of finishing around the rim,” Lollar said.

Lollar also said it was nice to see O’Brien find himself and shoot well on the perimeter. O’Brien made three shots from beyond the arc that night.

“He’s a good shooter,” Lollar said. “He’s kind of got off to a slow start, but hopefully bigger and better things will come. We believe in him. He’s like most good shooters—there’s not a shot he can’t make.”

Also contributing to the Dragons’ win were eight points from O’Neal and two apiece from freshman Kaden Kraus and seniors Dalton Kraus and Wyatt Seibel.

“Dalton’s been out for a full week,” Lollar said. “You could tell his timing was a little bit off, but his toughness is invaluable to our team. He brings a different element. Our team plays so much harder when he’s on the court.”

The win over Smoky Valley improved the Dragons record to 7-1.

Results from Tuesday’s road game against Pratt were unavailable at press time. Next up the Dragons host the Hesston Swathers (7-1) on Thursday night this week. Halstead will then host the 48th annual Adolph Rupp Tournament throughout next week.

For more coverage of Halstead sports, please see this week's print edition.