News From Terre Haute, Indiana

High School

December 6, 2013

Sister act: Elkins pair have helped West Vigo get off to 4-1 start

TERRE HAUTE — Heading into tonight’s home game against Owen Valley, the West Vigo girls basketball team is one win from equaling last season’s total for victories.

The 4-1 Vikings are led by post players and sister duo Lexus and Shyanne Elkins.

Lexus, a 5-foot-9 senior center, said she had a sense last season they could turn into Western Indiana Conference contenders. The bond between the 5-11 Shyanne and sister Lexus is a strong one, but the team chemistry overall has developed over the last couple seasons.

“I definitely felt like we were going to change. It was toward the end of last season, then we really worked together during the summer,” Lexus Elkins said. “We played two straight years with the same people.”

Shyanne, who is averaging 9.4 points and 9.1 rebounds so far for the Vikings, confirms the Vikings’ chemistry has improved in time.

“We just got more comfortable with each other,” Shyanne said. “I know if I mess up, my teammates will be there to help me, she’s going to be there to pick up my mistakes.”

Coach Ryan Easton is getting quality play from nine or 10 girls on his roster, but the Elkins girls help set the tone on a daily basis with unremitting effort.

“We’re going to go as they go at times,” Easton said. “They’re doing a great job with the leadership role too. Not just those two, a lot of them are. But the girls look up to and respect them.”

Are their styles of play similar?

“Oh, no,” Lexus said. “I’m aggressive, I like to be underneath, moving around, getting in the paint. Shy likes to float around, shoot the ball.”

Shyanne likes to find open space to work a little further from the hoop.

“We have very different strengths,” Shyanne said. “She’s an inside, strong defender, you know. I’m like a smooth player. I’m not as strong as her.”

Easton said the Vikings aren’t likely to wow their fans with a fluid style of basketball. But they’re fine with outworking opponents. That starts with his veteran sister combo.

“Neither one of them are pretty as far as skills go but they get the job done, that’s what matters,” Easton said. “They have a good understanding of what needs to be done. The whole mentality of our team, a blue-collar approach. That’s the mentality of our entire team. There’s nothing smooth or pretty about what we do, but as a group we try to get after it.”

The Vikings’ only loss so far was 45-22 to Terre Haute North. They’ve won three straight since, topping Western Indiana Conference foe Sullivan for the first time in five years Tuesday night in the Green Dome. The Vikings pulled away in the second half for a 57-40 win.

“It wasn’t going as we planned, we were really having to push the ball,” Lexus Elkins said. “But after we were up maybe seven points, we just flew from there. We definitely worked together. We executed our plays the right way.”

In the Vikings’ four wins, they’ve won by an average of 21, with a 66-19 victory at South Putnam bumping that mark some.

“We don’t take for granted what we do. We actually play hard. And it’s a privilege to sit on the bench in the second half and watch your second string do as much as you do out there,” Shyanne Elkins said.

After the Owen Valley game, the Vikings will play host to South Vermillion on Tuesday in another WIC contest, with rival Northview coming up next Friday at home.

“Our big goal right now is to win the conference. If we play as a team, I’m confident we can win sectionals too,” Shyanne said.

Adds Lexus, “I have a lot of confidence that we will really go far [in trying to win the WIC]. I’m excited about it. I have faith.”

Easton, in his 10th year as coach, is hoping this team has laid the groundwork for the best season he’s had since taking over the program.

“It was nice to beat Sullivan, but our goal this year wasn’t to beat Sullivan, it was to win the conference. Everything’s a step. We’ve got a tall ladder to climb, but it’s one rung at a time,” Easton said. “It’s nice to be 4-1 for the first time in a long time, but we’ve just got to stay focused and humble and hungry.”

 

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