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November 27, 2013

Prep preview: Young Vikings hope to rely on talent

TERRE HAUTE — Opposing coaches will have to search out junior varsity or eighth-grade film from 2012-13 in order to scout the West Vigo Vikings early on this season.

Coach Joe Boehler is optimistic that his boys high school basketball team will work hard to get up to speed to varsity play after achieving success at lower levels.

“I think we’re young, but we’ve got a lot of talent,” Boehler said. “They’ve had some success at the lower levels. When our junior class was freshmen, they won the WIC. Last year, we put all of them together on the JV. I think they won 8 out of 10 games. That next step is such a big step. Pace of play, strength, they’ll have to adjust to all of that.”

One member of that junior class, 6-foot-1 forward Alex West, played significant varsity minutes last season, averaging four points-per-game.

Point guard Tyler Hayes will be joined by Alec Blair and Braiden Cardinal in the backcourt, while junior Hayden Corenflos and 6-6 freshman Austin Sappingfield will round out the starting lineup for the Vikings’ opener tonight against North Vermillion.

“Over the summer when he came in I thought [Sappingfield] was probably going to be a JV kid, but he’s worked really hard and progressed,” Boehler said. “In the two scrimmages, we’ve had, he looked really good in both of those. He’s got a lot of potential but not a finished product by any means.”

West and 6-2 junior Grant Dailey give the Vikings additional size in the paint, while juniors Alec Blair and Keagan McClain also have experience playing with this group.

Freshmen Tyler Kernstein and Corey Vickers also have the potential to make an impact on the varsity.

“We’re in an evaluation process, figuring out who can do what and who does what well,” Boehler said.

The Vikings will get tested early with three Western Indiana Conference matchups among their first four games.

“In other years, we’ve done a good job getting out of the gate. But we’re so young this year, I’m not sure what to expect,” Boehler said. “It might take us a little bit of time before we figure out what our identity is, how we’re going to play and what our strengths are. Hopefully, it doesn’t take too long, but I think it will take a little while.”

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SPT 071214 RYAN SABO.jpg

Tribune-Star/Bob Poynter Fetch and fire: Rex third baseman #15 Ryan Sabo looks to first base after fielding a line drive down the baseline during game action against Quincy. Sabo got the runner for an out.

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