Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Vikings double up Bengals

Wrong place, wrong time.

That about sums up the plight of the Benedictine Bengals as they walked into Viking Village to face Villa Angela-St. Joseph on Jan. 29.

The Vikings had been stewing for five days over a loss to MacDuffie School (Mass.) at the Dunk 4 Diabetes Shootout the previous weekend and it didn’t take long for Coach Babe Kwasniak’s crew to take out their frustration on the visitors.

VASJ led by 16 at the end of one quarter, increased the advantage to 37 at halftime, and rolled over Benedictine, 106-53, to emphatically slam the door on any chance of a two-game losing streak.

The 106 points was a season-high and it was the third time this season the Vikings hit he century mark.

“It wasn’t about playing Benedictine tonight. This game was about us,” Kwasniak said. “We had 31 assists tonight, which I think is close to a team record, so we shared the ball, but most important we got back to defending the way you have to defend to be a championship team.”

The Vikings, ranked No. 1 in the latest D-III AP state poll, certainly looked the part of a champion while improving to 11-2 on the season. Thirteen players scored on the night for VASJ – five hitting double digits, led by Kansas recruit Carlton Bragg (18 points), who was recently selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game.

Bragg stole the show in the second quarter by dribbling down court, going around his back to avoid a defender and throwing down a one-handed dunk.

“The move by Carlton was something, it was nasty, and I don’t usually react to a whole lot that goes on when it comes to that,” Kwasniak said. “Our guys were excited, and they were excited for Carlton this week when he made the McDonald’s game. And he really deserved it.”

Northwestern recruit Dererk Pardon was once again a force in the paint with 16 points for the Vikings. Senior guard Jeff Grudzinski came off the bench to hit four 3s, finish with 15 points and take a charge despite a 40-point lead for VASJ.

“Jeff Grudzinski is just a great high school basketball player and I don’t know if he has had a bad game for us all season,” Kwasniak said. “He is playing his role at as high a level as any player I have ever coached.”

Simon Texidor hit three 3s and finished with 13 points. The sharpshooting senior now has 10 3s in his last two games. Sherman Dean came off the bench to score 12 for VASJ.

The Vikings travel to Holy Name on Jan. 30 to try to remain unbeaten in NCL White play.

 

Steve Harehttp://www.ohiovarsity.com
Steve Hare is the Chagrin Valley Conference's Sports Information Director. He also created and publishes OhioVarsity.com, an online publication dedicated to providing hyperlocal coverage to area high school athletic programs. Hare began covering high school sports for the Lake County News Herald in 1997. Hare attended Willoughby South High School through the middle of his senior year, then graduated from Berkshire High School in Burton in 1986. He played football, wrestled and was an all-Geauga county baseball player (1986). He lives in Chardon with his wife Paulette and their children.

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