By Denise Tucker (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
The Parkview Vikings blasted off any rust that might have lingered from Christmas break with a 62-49 nonconference victory over Carthage on Thursday night.
The Vikings, who had not played a game since a 51-45 loss to Nixa on Dec. 19, hit three straight 3-pointers to open up a 9-0 lead, knocking Carthage on its heels.
“We came out and shot the ball really well to start,” Parkview coach Landon Cornish said. “We’ve had a couple of pretty good days of practice; we took a lot of time off to get refreshed. The start of the season was kind of a gauntlet. We played a really tough schedule to start, so (the break) gave the guys a lot of time to rest.”
In addition to its offensive outburst, Parkview (5-5) pressed after most every made basket, holding the Tigers (5-6) to just six first-quarter points for a 25-6 Vikings lead after one quarter.
“I think we feel we’re capable of shooting the ball like that; our guys can shoot it,” Cornish said. “We’ve had some games where we’ve kind of gone cold, and you saw it there (in the second quarter). We go through stretches, and that’s what we’re trying to eliminate. We work now on just trying to have some consistency and balance throughout the four quarters.”
It was a role reversal in the second quarter as Carthage fought its way back from a 20-point deficit (28-8) to pull within six (33-27) of the Vikings, capped by a block by Alex Martini to Marcus Huntley, who scored just before the halftime buzzer.
“(Parkview) came out hot and kind of put us at a setback there,” first-year Carthage coach Nathan Morris said. “That’s our second or third game where we’ve spotted a team points from the 3-point line and had to dig our way out. Frustrating, but I think we did a good job in the second quarter of speeding things up and going to some of our zone-press stuff.
“Once we got them sped up, our kids felt a sense of urgency that it was time to go. It happened to us on Tuesday, as well, so that’s what we talked about; we’ve got to find a way to get that way from jump and start the games that way.”
But, coming out of the intermission, the Vikings used a 12-0 run to extend their lead to 18, and did not allow a Carthage basket until Martini scored on a traditional three-point play with about two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
“We built a big enough lead to kind of hang on,” Cornish said, “especially, when we came out in the second half. We said, ‘OK. It is what it is, the way the second quarter ended. Right now, you just need to end that and go out and play and build our lead back up and get comfortable again.’”
The Vikings were able to extend their lead with starters junior Trevon Brazile and senior Nakai Johnson each picking up their fourth fouls in the third – Brazile with 7:46 left and Johnson at the 3:33 mark – and spending a lot of time on the bench.
Between the foul trouble, and junior starter Anthony Green just back from illness, Cornish was able to get valuable minutes from his bench.
“I was really proud of the guys who came off the bench and stepped in and played big roles,” Cornish said. “We got some really good minutes out of Zay Beal, who came in and handled the ball whenever Nakai came out. Kevin Parker, who’s a freshman, came in and gave us really good minutes – I thought he played really well, defensively, and rebounded well. And, JaVeo Toliver and Royden Slifer hadn’t been playing a ton, but JaVeo started tonight and played really well, and Royden came in and rebounded really well for us, too.”
In the fourth quarter, Carthage outscored Parkview 10-3 to pull within eight points (50-42) before a 3-pointer from the Vikings’ Johnson (53-42). The Tigers got it to within nine two different times, but sent the Vikings to the free-throw line where they hit 5 of 8 to keep Carthage at bay.
“I’m proud of our kids,” Morris said. “We easily could have folded up and lost that game by a lot more than we did. We’ve got time to fix those things. I told these guys – solvable issues that we’ve got time to fix.”
After about three weeks in between games, the Vikings will play back-to-back nights as they head to Waynesville to open Ozark Conference play on Friday night. Their 2020 portion of the schedule is off to a good start with Thursday’s win.
“It was a rough (end) to 2019,” senior starter Dontae Taylor said of the Vikings’ four-game losing streak, prior to Thursday. “I told my team that we’ll come into 2020 with all W’s. We had all of our L’s in the first half; we’re getting all W’s in the second half.
“We have a talented team. We just need to learn how to finish our games. Because if we finish our games, we’ll beat teams by 20. I think we have a chance to win another district championship.”
PARKVIEW 62, CARTHAGE 49
CARTHAGE (5-6) – Marcus Huntley 10, Taris Jackson 4, Tyler Mueller 2, Joel Pugh 13, Alex Martini 15, Patrick Carlton 2, Caden Kabance 3.
PARKVIEW (5-5) – Elijah Whitley 14, Nakai Johnson 13, Trevon Brazile 8, Dontae Taylor 16, Kevin Parker Jr. 3, Zay Beal 3, Anthony Green 4, JaVeo Toliver 1.
Up next: Parkview at Waynesville, Jan. 10; Carl Junction at Carthage, Jan. 14.
Parkview B 70, Carthage B 50
Carthage freshman 63, Parkview freshman 48