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John L. Braese
VALE – Vale boys’ basketball coach Colby Shira scheduled a tough preseason, on the road playing a number of top Idaho schools and a recent stop at a holiday tournament in New Plymouth where the Vikings finished 1-2. After avenging an earlier season loss to the Weiser Wolverines on Tuesday, Jan. 3, the Viks opened the 3A Eastern Oregon League season with a 53-39 home win over the McLoughlin Pioneers on Friday, Jan. 6.
Vale put the first points on the board less than a minute into the game off a missed shot, rebound and basket by Diesel Johnson. The initial points for the Pioneers came with just over one minute gone as Tomas Garcia sank one of two free throws.
At the 1 minute, 22 second mark of the first quarter, the two teams stood tied at 12 points. As the first quarter came to a conclusion, Vale led 15-12.
This game was very likely written in the second eight minutes of play. McLoughlin did not see a point in the second quarter until the 2:05 mark and only scored two points for the eight minutes of play. At the half, Vale led 29-14.
The Pioneers did make a run in the third quarter, outscoring the Vikings 14-8. However, the Vikings put up 16 points in the final quarter to secure the “W”.
“It is good to get the league win,” said Shira. “We played well enough to win. Our defense was great but I am concerned with our overall team scoring.”
The Vikings saw Johnson score 36 of the team’s total 53 points while Colten Stepleton added 11 more points meaning two players scored 47 of the total 53 points for Vale.
“MacHi’s defense was solid tonight,” Shira added.
For the Pioneers, Rajdeep Singh finished the game with 14 points and Giovanni Sandoval added 10 points. McLoughlin struggled from the free throw line, going 6-for-14.
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