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Rival upset
by Clipper
Dec 05, 2005 | 182 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Watching Viewmont's Braeden Schlehuber and Zach Nyborg, two players just over six feet tall, battle in the post against Bountiful's six foot nine inch Ben Aird looked like a scene out of classic WWF, when Andre the Giant used to take on a handful of midgets. With that much of a size disadvantage, the Vikings looked like they had a better chance of winning the lottery than they did their game against Bountiful on Friday night. And it looked like that in the first half, as Aird was his typical dominating self with 12 points and three blocks, but then something drastically changed; the Vikings heart started to take over the much larger and talented Braves, and they rode it to a 55-45 victory.

This was nothing new for this group of Vikings. They've been physically overmatched in every sport their entire lives, and its never discouraged them.

That's because, as they showed on Friday night, they have the ultimate equalizer to size and skill -- speed and heart.

This year's basketball team is a collection of three-sport athletes that are as tight a group as you'll find. They play together in various sports all year round, and hang with each other every spare moment off the court.

Nyborg, Schlehuber, Ryan Higley, John Fadel, Nate Andall, Paul Rampton, and Spencer Harris don't care who they face, or how much of an underdog they are. They are a group that trusts each other, and they play their hearts out.

Although they were smaller at every position on the court, and were arguably less skilled at the same positions, the Vikes stormed back from a nine point halftime deficit to beat the Braves 55-45.

One Bountiful coach mentioned that the Vikings athletes beat their basketball players.

"We've always been undersized, and it kind of gives us an edge, because it makes us compete more. We've got a bunch of warriors," said senior guard Ryan Higley, who at five foot ten with tremendous speed, is the poster child for the Vikings style of play.

It was a huge win for the Vikes, who were coming off of a 30-point blowout at the hands of top-ranked Bingham two days earlier. They found their confidence and swagger again against the Braves.

The Vikes looked like a bunch of gnats harassing the Braves the entire game, forcing the Braves to shoot 35 percent from the field on their way to outscoring their crosstown rivals by 19 in the second half.

What was even more impressive was that the Vikes out-rebounded the much taller Braves, with Schlehuber leading the way with 13.

"What more could I ask for as a coach?" coach Jeff Emery said. "These are guys with big hearts and that love to compete. If we put together a chess club they'd play you to the end."

Or at least they'd play Bountiful in any competition you could think of.

"It doesn't matter (what we play Bountiful in). Beating Bountiful in chess, it doesn't matter," Higley said.

Emery and Higley must be playing a little chess on the side.

The Braves came into the game ranked No. 4 in 4-A, and they did nothing to show they were deserving of such adulation.

They were out-hustled on almost every play in the second half. Their perimeter players looked uninterested in what is typically one of the most intense games of the year, playing against a bitter rival.

Aird finished the game with 18 points, but was largely ineffective due to the Braves' inability to hit an outside shot to keep the Vikes from packing in their defense.

The Vikings on the other hand cast away with little conscience, nailing 10-27 three pointers. That outside shooting proved to be the difference in the game.

The Braves are off to an ignominious start, as they turned around and got beat by Judge Memorial on Saturday 48-34.

Aird, a sophomore was matched up against one of the best big men in the state in that game, the Bulldogs Daniel Deane, and was only able to score two points while Deane had 18.



bdevoe@davisclipper.com
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