VALPARAISO | For a few minutes at the end of the third quarter, Valparaiso's boys basketball team seemed lost.
A one-time, double-digit lead had melted away. The Vikings even trailed briefly – and what had once appeared to be an easy win suddenly hung in the balance.
But the Vikings outscored Lafayette Jeff 15-2 in a huge fourth quarter to secure a 54-40 win.
Justin Osburn led all scorers with 17 points for Valparaiso (7-4), shooting 5-of-8 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. Conner TenHove added 15 for the Vikings on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor.
As a team, the Vikings shot 57 percent (20-for-35) from the floor.
Things got hairy for Valparaiso midway through the third quarter, when back-to-back breakaway layups by Darian Collins cut the Viking lead to 33-31. A 3-pointer from Quarin Hood cut it to 35-34 a minute later and the Bronchos took their first lead of the game, 36-35, on a Collins' layup with just over two minutes left in the period.
After TenHove hit the Vikings' first free-throw attempt of the game to tie the score, Keaton Schreckengast hit his only basket of the game to put Lafayette Jeff ahead 38-36. But junior Brandon Nicholas hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in the period to give Valparaiso a 39-38 lead and the Vikings would not trail again.
The Vikings were outscored 15-9 in that third quarter but went on an 18-2 run to close out the game.
Lafayette Jeff (2-8) started to get back into the game in the second quarter, spurred by four 3-pointers: two by Collins and one apiece from Hood and David Hanyard. The Bronchos outscored Valparaiso 17-11 in the second period but still trailed 30-23 at halftime.
Hood led Lafayette Jeff with 13 points, while Collins added 12.
Valparaiso jumped out to a 6-0 lead to start the game and led 19-6 after the first quarter. Osburn hit a pair of 3-pointers in the opening stanza to help the Vikings build an early lead.