|East Carbon freshman, Bryant Bridge looks for assistance as he prepares to pass the ball to a teammate during a game earlier this year. The Vikings completed their season this past Friday as the team defeated Wendover, 58-51.|
It has been a long journey for the boys basketball team at East Carbon High this year. The season kicked off on a rough and rocky road, but the year ended with success as the Vikings captured their second win of the season.
The small squad from East Carbon competed in its final two games of the year last week. The first of which was hosted on the Vikings homecourt last Wednesday evening.
The team from Meridian visited East Carbon and dominated the Vikings court. The Mongooses jumped out ahead of the Vikings early on in the game as they outscored East Carbon 15-5 in the first quarter.
Much of the game continued at this pace as Meridian entered the half ahead of the Vikings, 28-13.
The Vikings stepped up in the second half however as they launched a rally against the Meridian team. The Vikes were outscored by only three points in the third and the fourth quarter found the East Carbon team outscoring Meridian, 24-18.
The rally wasn't enough however. The damage was already done and the Mongoose team defeated the Vikings, 58-46.
During his final home game in a Viking uniform, senior Tony McFarland lead the East Carbon team in scoring with 23 points.
Austin Preston also had a successful final showing in front of a home town crowd as he scored 10 points.
"We knew this would be a difficult game for us. Meridian entered this game ranked third in the region and last time we met this team, we lost by 34 points. We played hard this time and our efforts paid off as we trailed by only 12 points at the conclusion of the game," explained East Carbon coach, Jeff Cisneros.
As the Vikings entered the home game, they knew that in order to be included in the state playoffs, they had to defeat Meridian plus turn around and beat the Wendover Wildcats the following Friday.
Because the Vikes lost to Meridian, their playoff hopes were lost. But one game remained and this game would be the final statement the Vikings would be able to make this year.
Going into last Friday's road game, the Vikings held on to a 1-16 overall record for the season. Although records are not everything, the team was determined to claim one more win before completing the season.
Emotions were high and the Vikings entered the game full of energy.
By the half, East Carbon trailed Wendover, 26-20. It was still any one's ball game as the second half kicked off.
The Wildcats had managed to defeat the Vikings once this year, but the East Carbon team was out for revenge.
The Vikings stepped up and played tough and defeated the Wildcats, 58-51. This would not only add a win to the Vikings final standings, but it would also be a perfect ending to an up and down season.
McFarland once again lead the team in scoring with 22 points. He was followed by Preston who scored 15 points, Shane Wood with six and Jarrod Kennedy and Andy Farlaino each with four points.
"This was a good win for the team. Not all teams can say that they finished the season on a winning streak," joked Cisneros.
The victory was a perfect ending to a not so perfect season. The win was especially significant considering the fact that the East Carbon underdogs out played the home team.
"We struggled throughout most of the year. Not because we weren't a good ball club, but because we lacked experience and players," explained Cisneros. Many of these kids had to play two games each night in order to make up both a junior varsity and a varsity team. The spirits of the team were high, but the physical strain was evident.
When reflecting on the season, Cisneros is quick to applaud the efforts of his team.
"I don't want people to judge our season on wins or losses. Rather, I would like them to judge us on where we were when the season started and where we ended. The conclusion of the season came with a positive note with our win over Wendover. The main thing that I want these kids to know is that they played hard and did their best. Therefore, improvements were made and this is what made this team successful, not the season records," explained the East Carbon coach.
Cisneros also explained that although the team was small in numbers, they did not give up. In fact, each ball game, the athletes from East Carbon played the full game strong, never giving up even if fatigue and frustration had set in.
"I think that we definitely have a good foundation to build on next year. The main thing is to get more kids involved in the sport and at a younger age. I want to do this by offering summer camps and teaching interested youth the skills and techniques of the game," Cisneros stated.
Despite several coaching changes taking place over the past several years at East Carbon, Cisneros vows to be back next year.
"Stability is the key factor that this ball club is missing. I plan to stay here for as long as I can and try to get more kids involved in the sport," concluded the Vikings coach.