Dominant defense leads Vikings to title
Trying to execute an offense against the Curtis Vikings this season is a difficult task. Just ask Emerald Ridge, who committed 26 turnovers and allowed 19 steals as the Vikings rolled to a 62-38 win on Jan. 25 to secure the SPSL South 4A title.
“We’ve been working on that all the time at practice,” said senior guard Dominic Robinson, who led Curtis with 16 points while adding a team-high four steals. “Today it showed.”
Robinson nailed an early three-pointer and scored nine points in the first quarter to help the Vikings to a 15-8 lead. The defense then took over in the second quarter. Garrett Matz’s steal led to Jayson Williams’ breakaway layup to make it 24-11 with just under five minutes left in the half, and Williams had his own steal and layup a minute later. That was in the midst of a 12-0 run that helped the Vikings take a commanding 30-15 lead at the break.
“In the last month or so, they’re kind of seeing the result of their work,” said Vikings head coach Tim Kelly. “It’s hard to go out there and play defense…It’s work but it’s fun, too, when you’re turning people over and getting layups and everybody is involved.”
Robinson continued the defensive show late in the third, when he lunged forward to steal a pass and tossed it forward to Williams, who quickly returned it to Robinson for the easy layup to make it 38-24. Curtis led 42-26 heading into the fourth quarter, and used another dominant defensive stretch – with Robinson, Matz and Andre Lewis all getting easy layups after steals midway through the period – to put the game away. Matz, Lewis and Isom Brown all tallied three steals for the Vikings, while Williams and Dominique Jordan had two steals apiece. Tory Causey added nine points for the Vikings, while Williams had eight points and Matz and Brown had seven points apiece.
The win put the Vikings at 18-1 overall, with a 14-1 league record that was two games better than second-place Federal Way with just one league game remaining.
“It’s one of the goals you have to start the season,” said Kelly of the title. “To see it through tonight, and do it at home on senior night, is pretty cool. As we talked about, there are other things down the road that you build on from this.”
The Vikings certainly hope that the stingy defense – which allows just 46 points per game – will help a postseason run to Tacoma Dome after they were eliminated in the state regionals by Union last year.
“That hurt me really bad,” said Robinson, the Vikings’ leading scorer at 14 points per game. “I don’t want to feel that ever again.”
By Jeremy Helling
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