Boys basketball

Thomas, Vikings hold off the Wolves

2013-11-27T22:00:00Z 2013-12-02T12:12:13Z Thomas, Vikings hold off the WolvesPaul Jankowski Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
November 27, 2013 10:00 pm  • 

PORTER TOWNSHIP | Nerves? Nonsense. Not for new Valparaiso coach Matt Thomas.

After six years coaching the junior varsity, Thomas made his varsity debut Wednesday night as the Vikings traveled to Boone Grove for their traditional season opener against the Wolves.

The basketball wasn't pretty, but Thomas looked great in a new suit while he watched his relatively young and inexperienced squad grind out a 40-27 victory.

"Suprisingly, I wasn't (nervous)," Thomas said. "I didn't feel too much of a difference once the game started, and actually before the game I was surprised at how calm I was."

In a slow-paced, foul-plagued game that lacked offensive highlights, Valparaiso sophomore Conner Tenhove led the Vikings with 11 points, eight rebounds and five steals while senior guard Justin Osburn added 10 points.

Valpo shot just 8-of-26 from the floor (30.1 percent) and held the Wolves to 7-of-26 (26.9 percent) while forcing 13 turnovers.

Osburn hit his only 3-pointer of the game with four seconds remaining in the first quarter to give the Vikings a 7-4 lead. At that point, the pace was set for a defensive struggle that featured 42 combined fouls and 40 free throws.

"We wanted it to be that way," said Boone coach Matt McKay, who fell to 3-19 against Valpo in his 22 years as Wolves coach. "We didn't want to get in a shootout with them because we didn't have the guns to match up with theirs."

The third quarter was a disaster for Boone, as the Wolves committed six turnovers and only managed one 3-pointer by Kyle Kaminski.

"The formula was working, it's just we couldn't put any points on the board," McKay said. "We went for huge, long stretches where we couldn't get the ball to go down or an opportunity from the line."

Free throws were the difference. The Vikings were 21-of-26 (80.1 percent) from the line, and Thomas was quick to point out the players are using the Valpo free throw method developed in the 1950s by Virgil Sweet and carried on through coaches Dale Ciciora, Skip Collins and Bob Punter.

"We worked very hard on installing the Valpo free throw," Thomas said. "We come in the morning and we shoot them, something I reinstalled because we did that when I played for Coach Punter."

The Vikings were 10-of-14 from the line in the fourth quarter, pulling away after Boone cut the lead to 31-23 on a pair of Isaac Mioduski free throws with 6:07 remaining.

"I was really happy with the way in the fourth quarter our guys pulled together," Thomas said. "They were talking, our guys were executing, they were knocking down free throws.

"I know it was ugly but I was most happy with our mental toughness. A lot of kids would have folded under that pressure and our guys didn't do that."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which local prep soccer semistate qualifier will most likely reach state?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses