By Tyler Thompson (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
It took a while for the Parkview Vikings (12-8) to fire on all cylinders at home Tuesday against the Glendale Falcons (12-8).
After falling behind early, the Vikings showcased balanced basketball throughout the second half, when they outscored the opposition 42-20 en route to the 71-51 win.
Vikings junior forward Trevon Brazile led all scorers with 19 points — including two key 3-pointers.
Brazile said the urgency wasn’t there in the first half, when they trailed 17-13 at the end of the opening quarter and 31-29 at halftime.
But that quickly changed.
“In the first half, we didn’t have any energy,” the 6’7” forward said. “In the second [half], we came out with a lot of energy.”
Dontae Taylor — who finished with 11 points — quickly set the tone with his early four points in the third, as the Vikings began spreading out the Falcons 1-3-1 zone defense.
But even more vital, on this night, was the ball movement in and out of the lane.
“We have length this year, and we use that to our advantage,” Brazile said.
Defensively, the guards — especially the play of Taylor — illuminated the gym as the Vikings forced 10 turnovers: often times speeding up the game, much to the chagrin of the Falcons.
“Dontae … the best defensive player in the area, for sure,” Brazile said of his counterpart. “He did a good job of switching tonight.”
The Vikings’ offense knew what they were going to get with Glendale head coach Brian McTague’s defense, and navigating their way throughout a tough Ozark Conference is a nice precursor to the talent they will face at the Class 5 District 11 Tournament — teams such as Branson, Central, Kickapoo, and Nixa.
“Oh, it’s tough,” Brazile said of conference play. “It is a tough schedule down the road, but I think we will be prepared for it. A lot of these teams, we are going to have to play them in districts. It really helps us prepare for it.”
The game was a tale of two halves, as the Vikings began running and gunning their way down the court in transition throughout the final two quarters of action, all the while drawing defenders away from the paint, only to author many back-door cuts: forcing the Falcons’ defense to honor all areas of the floor.
“We really wanted to get in the middle, in the inside, get 3s and get to the basket and get fouls,” Brazile said of the offensive game plan.
Parkview converted 53 percent from the charity stripe in the first half and 58 percent in the final 16 minutes of play..
And stopping the clock enabled the Vikings to cut into the deficits during third-quarter action.
Not only does Parkview have height on its side this season, but depth is another asset that’s proving to be one of a valuable nature, as Taylor drew two early fouls.
Brazile said that when he Taylor and Elijah Whitley are on, their speed, size, and ability to knife through the interior make it tough for opposing defenses to properly formulate a defensive plan of attack.
Added Brazile: “We can go as far as we need to, as far as we want to, if we play like that. If we step up like this every night, I don’t think any team can beat us.”
Early on, the two teams went blow-by-blow, as physicality took center court — with players crashing hard to the hardwood, and others fighting tooth and nail for 50-50 balls.
Parkview head coach Landon Cornish was not taken a back.
“Yeah, Glendale, offensively, they continually cut,” Cornish said. “They play so hard, so I knew we would have to play hard defensively. They were going to make baskets. They are too good not to make baskets. I was proud of how our guys finished there at the end.”
Parkview’s offense tightened up in the fourth quarter, as they didn’t commit one turnover.
Parkview — 13 16 21 21: Brazile-19; Whitley-17; Taylor-11; Johnson-9; Green-8; Parker Jr.-3; Toliver-4.
Glendale — 17 14 12 8: Lowry-17; Harrell-17; Hill-6; Osborn-2; Ledgerwood-2; Crosby-7.