Vikings get home split against Baker
As the Heart of America Conference basketball season enters its stretch run, the Missouri Valley College women are starting to find a groove.
The Lady Vikings won for the third time in the last four league games Saturday with a 75-63 home decision over Baker, moving them into contention for post-season tournament berth.
The Lady Wildcats led by two points early in the second quarter before Valley staged a 15-3 run, starting with three-pointers from seniors Ariel Miller and Hannah Stephens. Senior Shanelle Tolley also struck from outside and a short shot by Stephens put the Lady Vikings ahead by 10 points with 3:44 remaining in the first half.
They led by as many as 11 points during the third quarter, but took an eight-point lead into the final frame. Stephens and Baker freshman Demi Aamold traded bombs early in the fourth and a bucket by sophomore Kinley Grubb narrowed the gap to two points before Stephens answered 18 seconds later.
Two Tolley free throws and a field goal bumped the Lady Vikings’ cushion to 10 points with 3:32 left in the game and they stayed ahead by at least eight points to rest of the way.
Senior Abby Bird topped the Lady Wildcats (7-6, 5-5 HAAC) with 17 points. Valley (8-8, 5-7) got 18 points and 11 rebounds from Tolley, 17 points from Miller and 12 points, eight assists and five steals from junior Brecon Antrillo.
The MVC men came up just short of making a sweep, but junior Justin Batts was fouled while trying to break a tie at the buzzer and made one of three from the charity stripe to give Baker a 70-69 decision.
The Wildcats led nearly the entire game, by as many as 13 points during the first half. After sophomore Braden Wiggs made a lay-up 19 seconds into the second period for a 10-point Baker lead, the Vikings began their comeback with freshman Jace Lance’s three-pointer.
Junior Zion Fortune got loose for a bucket inside and senior Casey Cody-Jackson struck from the perimeter to close the gap to two points with 17:42 remaining in the game.
The Wildcats scored three straight baskets, two by junior Jalen Patterson, to bump the margin back to double digits before Valley reeled off eight points in a row. The rest of the game was a grim struggle, the Vikings leading for the first time since the opening minute on a shot by Cody-Jackson.
Junior Tyler White responded with a three and Baker led by five points with 10 seconds to go. Senior Dusaan Allen drilled a long jumper and junior Hayden Sprenkel tied the game with a pair of free throws with two seconds showing, before Batts was fouled and converted for the game-winner.
Sophomore Xavier Elam had 14 points for the Wildcats (5-6, 3-4), who out-shot Valley from outside the arc, 12 to 4.
Cody-Jackson finished with 18 points and Lance scored 12 for the Vikings (5-9, 3-7), who have dropped three in a row.
Valley will continue HAAC play Wednesday by hosting MidAmerica Nazarene.
Contact Chris Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org