By Travis Smola
The Vicksburg varsity boys’ basketball team found themselves in a shootout with rival Three Rivers in District semifinal play on March 11.
The Bulldogs were able to rally and pad out their lead late for a 63-58 victory over the Wildcats. It was their third win of the year over their rival. The difficulty of doing that wasn’t lost on Head Coach Josh Noble.
“Every game they have a late lead,” he said of the Three Rivers team. “It’s getting to the point where I’m glad we can move on from them because that is a good team,” Noble said. “They have two players that are at the top of their conference, their coach has done a good job with those guys.”
The teams were evenly matched in the contest. Three Rivers jumped out to a 14-8 lead after the first period. The two teams traded the lead back and forth 12 times in the contest as each team struggled to gain momentum over the other. At the end of two periods it was 33-31 Vicksburg and at the end of three it was 40-42 in Three Rivers’ favor.
In the end, it was the incredible three-point shooting of Jacob Conklin and Levi Root that was the difference-maker. Each sunk five threes on their way to 21 and 20 points respectively. Most of Root’s shots came very late in the game to seal the victory and help deflate the hopes of the Wildcats.
“My job was easy. I looked at the guys and said, ‘Just get it done,’ and they did,” Noble said. “Between him (Root), Conklin and Kyle Rose, we’ve got as good of a chance as any.”
Rounding out the scoring for the Bulldogs was Rose with nine points, Dillon Shook with five and Parker Wilson with three. Ethan Buscher and Lucas Hatridge both had two and Chase Myers had one successful free throw.
“We’ve just matched in three days the amount of playoff wins we’ve had in the last 15 years,” Noble commented.
The Bulldogs will not now play in the District Final on Friday. It was cancelled. “I feel very blessed, I’m looking forward to celebrating with the guys (tonight),” Noble said. “It’s one of those games where I don’t celebrate often, but that was fun.”