LANSING | After Friday night's win, Illiana Christian coach Tom Roozeboom told his players this was their first complete game of the season.
The Vikings used four strong quarters to overcome Metro Suburban Conference opponent Timothy Christian 74-52. Illiana Christian was led by senior Elijah Lares, who led all scorers with 23 points. Viking Caleb Jonkman added 20 points and eight rebounds for Illiana Christian.
"I told the guys that I think this was our first complete game that we played," Roozeboom said. "We knew we had to stop their two scorers in (Daniel Leach) and (Conner VanderBrug), and I thought we did a pretty good job of that."
Lares said the Vikings were able to keep up the defensive intensity throughout the game and that factor, along with the Illiana Christian shots falling, helped to keep the Vikings in the driver's seat all evening.
"We just never looked back," Lares said. "We kept playing hard defense and our shots were going in. It was a team effort, and nice defense."
The Vikings jumped out to an early lead and never did look back. Illiana Christian took a 45-27 lead into the half, and when Timothy Christian came out fast in the third quarter, the Vikings were able to respond and keep the lead in double digits.
"They were making their open shots," Lares said of the early second half scare. "We just knew that we couldn't let them get off because they're a good shooting team. We had to get together as a team and get down and play defense so they wouldn't come back and win the game."
Brandon Martin had a strong game for Illiana Christian, adding 16 points and six rebounds on the night. Jonkman is seeing the Vikings continue to improve heading into the home stretch of the season.
"We're looking up," Jonkman said. "We're wanting to finish out our conference strong in these games and look towards our regional."