Vikings play important tune-up games at home tournament that ends early

By Nathan Kanter
March 5, 2018 - 2:00pm

The weather just wouldn't cooperate during the Viking Invitational senior boy's basketball tournament at North Battleford Comprehensive High School this past weekend.

Half of the teams competing had to leave early to ensure they got home safely, so no playoff round took place and no medals were awarded.

That doesn't mean the weekend was a waste, as the Vikings got in a very meaningful tune-up game against Yorkton Regional High School, where they unfortunately fell just short.

"We've seen everybody else and we've played everybody else. So for us, we needed to see Yorkton, knowing that they were, in our opinion before the tournament, probably ranked second in rural 5A, and us thinking we were first," Vikings head coach Jamie Sommerfeld said. "It was a good experience to kind of get kicked in the teeth a little bit, to show that physicality. It was a good wake-up call for us."

The Vikings were down by double digits at half and managed to come back to take a five-point lead in the fourth. But the Raiders took advantage of the Vikings fatigue at the end and came out on top.

Sommerfeld said Yorkton was probably more prepared, because the Vikings didn't practice over the winter break while Yorkton was coming off a tournament in Calgary.

"Over the break [we] let the kids rest up...[which] is important in such a long season, or else you burn your kids out," he said. "They were a little bit more fine tuned than we were.

"Nine times out of 10 we probably take that game."

On Friday, the Vikings beat St. Mary's and Estevan quite easily, which was expected, as those teams are rebuilding, Sommerfeld said.

The first game was also played in front of a packed house in the main gym.

"From what I heard the atmosphere was great," Sommerfeld said, who wasn't able to make it in person. "Everybody right now says it's probably one of the best rural tournaments that we have going just because the top 4A and top 5A [schools] from rurals are all there. Everybody is kind of jockeying for positioning this tournament because it's the last tournament before rankings are due."

While rankings are now due, there is still one more weekend before regionals. But the Vikings have it off, so this was their last tournament before they head to regionals in Warman the weekend of March 16.

Now that Yorkton beat NBCHS, the rankings heading into that tournament are a little more fuzzy.

"Because they beat us, now we'll probably be going in second," Sommerfeld said. "But some teams might still rank us first, we just don't know."

The Vikings will need to finish in the top-2 at regionals to qualify for the provincial Hoopla tournament, which is in Prince Albert this year.


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