Saturday July 12, 2014

Fulton Cup: Vikings pull off the near-impossible

Valleyview defeats Sa-Hali and the spread
Murray Mitchell

Tanner Farber sails to the basket for the Valleyview Vikings in the game against the Sa-Hali Sabres.

The Valleyview Vikings senior boys basketball team pulled off the nearly impossible at the Fulton Cup on Thursday.

The Vikings knocked off the Sa-Hali Sabres 85-58 in a round-robin game at the Tournament Capital Centre. Valleyview has advanced to today's championship game against the Westsyde Whundas at the TCC at 7:30 p.m.

It certainly wasn't an easy road to the final for the Vikings, who dropped their opener 57-50 to the South Kamloops Titans on Wednesday. Valleyview knew it had to win - and win big - to gain an edge in the tiebreaker between the teams.

The tiebreaker was based on pointspread - the Vikings were simply hoping to win.

"We haven't played well . . . we've had a really rough start," said John Demidoff, who coaches the Vikings alongside Brynden Swint. "We just came out hoping to get a win. We always play well against Sa-Hali and we came out just hoping to win.

"By the end, we were wondering just how many points we needed to win by . . ."

The Sabres held a big edge coming into the game by virtue of their 67-41 victory over the Titans on Wednesday evening. Because Sa-Hali was plus-26 in pointspread and Valleyview was negative-7, the Vikings had to win by at least 17 to get a trip to the final.

Whatever the math, the Vikings kept piling on, and ran away with it.

"We wanted to win, but we wanted to come out and get a big win," said Valleyview guard Layton Demidoff, who ran to the tournament scoreboard at halftime in an attempt to do the math. "(The pointspread) was in the back of my mind, but the goal was just to win the game first."

The Vikings took control of the game in the latter half of the first quarter, extending an 8-7 lead to 24-11 after 10 minutes. The Vikings were up 43-24 at the half, but Sa-Hali didn't quit.

With much to gain by cutting the deficit, the Sabres came to life in the third quarter, and had cut the lead to 10 points by the end of the frame. The desperate Vikings absolutely dominated in the final 10 minutes, scoring 31 points to get the spread they needed.

"Early on in the season, we weren't moving the ball as well," Layton Demidoff said. "This game, we really moved the ball well. We got a lot of open looks with people driving and kicking it out."

The Whundas knocked off the NorKam Saints 62-50 to finish 2-0 in their pool.

The Vikings won the Fulton Cup in 2012, after the same group of boys took the junior title in 2011. In fact, this team, with nine Grade 12 players, has been together for more than just a few years.

"This group of kids, I've had them since Grade 7," said John Demidoff, Layton's father. "They won it in junior, won it last year. We've still got to face (Westsyde) . . . we'll see. I still think we're not playing to our potential just yet."

The Vikings are hoping the victory will serve as a turning point for what has been a rough season so far.

"We had a really good season last year, when we were all Grade 11," Layton Demidoff said. "Now we're in Grade 12, so we've got to buckle down in practice and play hard. Hopefully we play well in Okanagans at the end of the year."

Statistics from Thursday's game were unavailable.

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