Vikes prove a game is not over until it’s over

    The Ventura boys basketball team proved that a game isn’t over until it’s over.  They picked up two more Cornbelt Conference victories, moving their record to 3-1 in conference play. 
Ventura 54, G-T/A-R 52

    It was a game to remember for the Ventura Vikings on Tuesday night, Dec. 13, when they hosted Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ahryshire.
    The Raiders set the pace for the first half, sinking consecutive three-point shots to open the game.  The Vikings kept in the game, but G-T/A-R gained a 28-23 halftime advantage, which they built into a double digit lead in the third quarter, 43-31.
    Credit needs to go to the Vikings, who really battled back in the fourth quarter.  With a minute and one-half remaining in the game, Ventura got to within three points, when Joel Toppin, Ventura’s leading scorer, fouled out.  The Vikes gained a one point advantage, which upset a Raider player who got a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.  Ventura sent Joel Watson to the line.  Watson went 1/1 for a two point lead.  The Vikings inbounded the ball and the Raiders committed an intentional foul, sending James Stephenson to the line.  Stephenson also went 1/1 to give his team a three-point Ventura advantage.  Shawn Murphy was next to be fouled.  Murphy sunk both shots for a five-point Ventura lead.  G-T/A-R threw up a three point shot at the buzzer, but it wasn’t enough as Ventura still held a two point lead and the victory, 54-52.
    “This was a great game to watch, but a hard one to coach - very nerve racking,” said Coach Chad Brown.  “There’s no doubt that the guys came out after halftime ready to play.  We had our most productive quarter of the season in the fourth, and when the chips were down, everybody really got after it and stepped up.”
    The Vikings were over 50 percent from the field, with Toppin shooting 67 percent for the night.
    Senior Joel Watson had his best game of the season with a double-double.  He scored 14 points and had 11 rebounds.  He also contributed three assists.
    “Watson had a great game, with no turnovers and clutch free throws.  He truly stepped up and showed his senior leadership,” said Brown.
    Toppin led the team in scoring with 16 points.  Also scoring was Sam Treloar and Zach Ryerson with six points each, and Ryan Schmitz and James Stephenson had three points apiece.
    Schmitz and Ryerson grabbed eight and six rebounds apiece.  Toppin also had three assists.  Treloar had two steals and Stephenson collected two blocked shots.
Ventura 54, CCE 53
    Fans hadn’t recovered from the last game when the Vikings treated them to more of the same - - the second nerve-racking game of the week at Clay Central-Everly on Friday, Dec. 16.
    “It was another nail biter for the Ventura varsity,” said Brown.  “A huge push in the last quarter, with amazing effort from Jace Byers, Joel Watson, Joel Toppin and Ryan Schmitz.”
    It was a repeat of Tuesday night’s game, with the Mavericks in control for a majority of the game.  At halftime, CCE was - Read More via e-Edition

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