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Friday, May 20, 2022

Vikings defense smashes Panthers in crosstown matchup

CHICO – The Pleasant Valley Vikings men’s basketball team defeated the Chico High Panthers 72-54 at The Pit on Thursday night to register their 18th win of the season.

The Vikings (18-3) were able to pull off the game early in the first quarter due to their early full-court pressure and their aggressive 2-3 zone defense.

“I think the power and energy of our team was great,” said head coach Tim Keating. “It’s always hard to play with depth perception in the pit, but we brought in energy and had defensive skills.”

Full-court pressure and a suffocating defense was just too much for the Panthers (9-9). On property they were able to move the ball across mid-court a turnover or a heavily contested shot would chase.

“These guys want to control the pace,” Keating said of his team’s aggression. “Our culture is defense and these guys have bought into it and their motors are on a high standard and they bring it in every night. It creates offense from our defense and that is always good.”

Ned Joyce, the team captain, and the rest of the Vikings were able to find the bucket wherever they wanted on the court. Buckets were easier to find by their size or in the lower post than the back of the arc.

“I think we played wonderfully,” Joyce said. “Even though they are our cross-town rivals, we were going to play it like any other sport. Coach Keating told us to play it like any other game, even if the crowd is big, we have to be restrained and I think we did a great job tonight.

Coming out halfway through, the Vikings had no problem keeping the game under cruise control. They found their big men in the post when they wanted to or they kicked it for shots around the key.

“I think we came out and played very strong,” said Gabe Garretson, a junior shooting guard for the Vikings. “Everyone was really excited for the game. Every day we are working hard and we look forward to the game. We came out with the intensity we wanted, and we had good chemistry on the court.”

The next game for the Vikings will be against Foothill on January 24 at 8 p.m. and the Panthers next game against Red Bluff on January 24 at 8 p.m. at home.

Keating said, “We’ve had a successful year so far, but we still have six league games left and hopefully a few more games in the section and these guys want to make some noise, but we’re going to do it one at a time,” Keating said. Will take you to the game.”

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