Vikings pull off upset in HAAC debut
It was only a matter of time before Missouri Valley College freshman Jace Lance found his shooting stroke
Marshallís career scoring leader tallied 17 of his team-high 21 points during the second half Wednesday, draining four three-pointers, during the Vikingsí 91-81 home win over Park to begin play in the Heart of America Conference South Division.
The defending American Midwest Conference co-champion Pirates became the Heartís 14th member this year and received votes in the NAIA pre-season rankings.
Valley never trailed in the contest, pulling ahead with a 16-2 four-minute run after being tied four minutes four minutes into it. Park whittled the margin down, so that buckets by junior Danny Bradley, Jr., and senior Quez Williamson during the final minute of the half trimmed it too three points.
The Vikings gradually rebuilt its cushion early in the second half, threes from Lance and junior Zion Fortune expanding the lead to 12 points after five minutes.
Senior Rodriguez Marthone had 10 points during a five-minute span as the Pirates again pulled to within three points before Lance drilled two bombs and junior Hayden Sprenkel buried three for a commanding 14-point Valley lead with 4:02 to go.
Marthone led all scorers with 31 points for Park (0-1, 0-1 South).
Sprenkel added 16 points and Cody-Jackson 11 for the Vikings (2-2, 1-0).
The Valley women nearly pulled off a shocker earlier in the evening, losing a 79-73 HAAC South decision to 17th-ranked Central Methodist.
The Lady Vikings led most of the first half, but never by more than three points. A bucket by senior Demetria Heard gave them a five-point advantage early in the third quarter, but they only had one field goal over the next three minutes while the Lady Eagles reversed the margin with a 12-2 surge.
Valley took a one-point lead into the final frame, which started with junior Kayla Nelsonís conventional three-point play and a lay-up by junior Irene Madrid.
A long jumper by junior RíManie Pulling kicked off Central Methodistís decisive 13-0 spree which ended with a 85-58 spread with 6:28 remaining. The Lady Vikings were unable to pull to within a single possession the rest of the way.
Freshman Leaianya Massenat topped all scorers with 29 points for the Lady Eagles (2-0, 1-0). Senior Shalina Harper had 21 points for the Lady Vikings (1-1, 0-1).
Valley will be at home again Saturday for a HAAC twinbill against Benedictine.
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