The energy and enthusiasm at F.I.S. on Saturday was contagious. In fact, the Lady Vikings tournament games had to be stopped by the refs in an effort to control the cheers from the Ladies’ bench. Without that encouragement, the Ladies may not have had the legs to play two full basketball games. The best complement came from the Athletic Director of a rival team following the tournament, “Your girls have got more heart than I’ve ever seen.” And that is just what Coach Giles told them before they took the court for the championship game. She told them to play hard and play with heart.
In the first game of the tournament, the Ladies squared up against Holy Family. Earlier in the season, the Vikings nearly lost to Holy Family until a final momentum in the last minutes pushed the Vikings ahead for a three point win. Saturday was a déjà vu moment when the Ladies found themselves down by one at the half and down by 7 at the end of the third quarter. The game was very aggressive, and took physical as well as emotional strength to play. With a lot of heart and some careful substitutions by Coach Giles, the Ladies held onto their energy to once again push ahead winning the game 37-33.
After a short break, the Lady Vikings found themselves jumping for the ball with the tenacious girls of Central Christian Academy for the title of Champions. Central nearly shut the Vikings down earlier in the season until a last minute layup brought the score to a tie, and an extra quarter brought a win. Again, with heart, the Lady Vikings came out strong for the final tournament game, but Central Christian was ready.
Immediately, Central Christian put on a strong press. Point Guard, Constance Toldo, was quickly put to the test. In a seemingly effortless drive, she crossed around one opponent only to be trapped by two more. Without picking up her dribble, Constance pushed the ball between the two girls following it with determined feet. She dribbled to her teammates under the basket passing to Molly Cypherd for the layup. The crowd jumped to their feet, and everyone knew the Ladies Vikings were there to win.
By the second half, Central relied on their strongest player, number 15, to face guard Molly Cypherd. Molly, who had earned 7 points in the first half, sunk only one basket in the third quarter. Her quick feet, however, proved to be no match for the number 15, and Molly managed to find the ball on the outside passing in for seven assists. Her constant motion eventually wore down her opponent until the face guarding was finally lifted in the last four minutes. Running on empty, the Lady Vikings looked like they were done, but Central Christian was not ready to give up. The score started closing tighter, and the Ladies were within one basket of a loss. But then, the Lady Vikings dug deep and found their hearts once again. The ball was stolen and thrown down court to Brooklyn Redo for the game changing basket. The Ladies renewed the oomph needed to finish strong and found another victory over Central Christian Academy 33-27.
The 2017 Lady Vikings tournament exemplified team work. Molly Cypherd jumped back on her double-double streak with a DOUBLE double-double. Molly scored 13 points and 12 rebounds in the first game, and she scored 12 points and an astonishing 20 rebounds in the championship game earning her tournament MVP. Brooklyn Redo also stepped up as a leader with 11 points and 7 rebounds in the first game and 8 points and 10 rebounds in the final game earning her a tournament MVP. Between the two games, both girls tallied a collective 13 steals blocked shots. Caroline Toldo played strong with 7 total points, 3 steals and 7 rebounds. Aside of a strong defense, Constance Toldo scored 2 points, 3 steals, and 7 rebounds. Betsy Conger contributed 4 points and used her long stretch to pull down 7 rebounds. Jade Redo added 7 points to the boards and 4 rebounds. Ashley Morrell drove in for 6 points and fought for 4 rebounds.
Once again, the games could not be won without the substitutions and encouragements from the bench. Olivia Weber, Lili Kane, Meg Allen, Arabella Hatfield, Elanora Lerner, and Ashley Butler earned valuable game experience while contributing to these wins.
-Written by Tawnya Eastman